India will need over 1,300 planes in next few years: Suresh Prabhu

Even as India is in the middle of disinvestment plan for debt-ridden Air India, newly-appointed aviation minister Suresh Prabhu has said that India will need more than 1,300 planes in next few years. In an interview with news agency PTI, Suresh Prabhu said that the government wants to extend the ‘Make in India’ initiative to meet the demands of the aviation sector.

While he said that India will need 1,300 planes in next few year, he also said that the government does not want to bring all of them from abroad but will make in India. He said that the aviation ministry will be working closely with defence ministry to manufacture civilian and defence aircraft in India.

Suresh Prabhu last Saturday was given the additional charge of the civil aviation ministry after TDP’s Ashok Gajapathi Raju resigned over the demand of special status to Andhra Pradesh. Suresh Prabhu’s name was advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to President Ramnath Kovind after Raju’s resignation.

Suresh Prabhu took the charge of the ministry at a crucial time of strategic disinvestment of Air India, the expansion of cheap-flying plan UDAN and infrastructural development. Suresh Prabhu said that use of high-end technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics in the airline industry will also be a priority.

Meanwhile, due to the engine problem, at least 65 flights were grounded on Wednesday, leading to a sharp rise in fares on certain routes, following DGCA’s decision to ground 11 A320Neo planes with faulty Pratt & Whitney engines. MoS Aviation, Jayant Sinha said that safety of passengers is of paramount importance and of the 43 engines in question around the world, 19 are currently in India used by IndiGo and GoAir.

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