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Rajiv Nagpal and Haritha Saranga

The Indian civil aviation industry was relatively small until the 1990s when the broader economic liberalization deregulated the civil aviation sector. The entry of private airlines and low-cost airlines resulted in a tremendous growth of the industry as the volume of passenger traffic more than tripled and freight more than doubled in the last decade alone. However, Indian aviation is currently facing a variety of challenges including high taxes, airport charges, maintenance costs, fare regulation, slot allocation, air space restriction and adherence to route guidelines. While the Indian government has enabled private participation in airport infrastructure, the growth in capacity seems to be lagging behind the demand. Policy changes aimed at increasing airport capacity, facilitating MRO services and generating investment in infrastructure are necessary. This chapter assesses the role played by deregulation and examines future opportunities that can be leveraged to make India a global aviation power house.