India is set to become the third-largest aviation market in the world in terms of passengers by 2026, and an aviation hub for maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.In his address after inaugurating the 2nd Aero Expo India 2017, Naidu called the aviation sector an "important driver" of economy."I am sure India will soon emerge as an aviation hub not only in terms of increased air connectivity but also in terms of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities and setting up of ancillary units."In the coming years, India is expected to witness rapid growth in the aviation sector. India became the world's fastest growing domestic travel market for the 22nd time in a row recording a 26.6 per cent year-on-year growth in January 2017, according to IATA. India is witnessing a high-growth trajectory and set to become the third-largest aviation market in the world in terms of passengers by 2026," he said.
Naidu also highlighted that India's air cargo is estimated to grow at nine per cent over the next few years and IATA also expects the air passengers to double from 3.8 billion air passengers in 2016 to 7.2 billion by 2035."With increasing disposable incomes and a burgeoning middle class, air travel will witness further spurt in the years ahead," he said adding that he was happy that government's Udan scheme seeks is promoting regional connectivity by serving the un-served and under-served airports."Connecting Tier-II cities, pilgrim towns and historic places with the wider air routes is important for boosting tourism and business travel," he added.