International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac has hailed domestic growth in India, but warned that the country still faces infrastructure challenges.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Press Trust of India, de Juniac welcomed another month of strong domestic growth and said that the Indian government's role was to be commended.
"The Indian government has a vision for aviation in India. There is a clear aviation policy which reflects a national development strategy that appreciates aviation’s role," he said.
"And, with June showing the 46th successive month of double digit domestic growth for India, it is producing results.
"Bravo to Minister Suresh Prabhu and his predecessor Ashok Gajapati Raju, Minister of State Jayant Sinha and Secretary Choubey. It is an important achievement."
The Indian government has a clear policy which reflects a national development strategy that appreciates aviation’s role
Although de Juniac's joy was tempered by some of the strategy's implementation, he made it clear that having a published strategy "on the table" was something that India should be praised for.
The IATA Director General and CEO also called for "urgent action" on infrastructure in the South Asian country.
"Today’s infrastructure is worlds ahead of where it was a decade ago. But India is still not an easy place for airlines to do business," he said.
"Firstly, demand growth continues to outpace airport development. India needs to develop and implement a comprehensive airport plan to support growth.
"Secondly, India’s airlines need to generate sustainable profits to fund growth and invest in new services. Despite growing demand and amazing potential, profitability is still a challenge.
"The government needs to work with industry to find out what is holding the industry back and find solutions if the blockers fall within the domain of public policy."
De Juniac said he hoped that such issues would be a hot topic of discussion at the International Aviation Summit that IATA will co-host with Airports Authority of India and the Ministry of Civil Aviation in September.