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India's aviation industry takes off

By Phil Han, CNN
India is being viewed by airline experts as a big growth area.
India is being viewed by airline experts as a big growth area.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Several Indian airlines are reporting strong growth for the first quarter of financial year.
  • Jet Airways reported 35 percent international passenger growth.
  • New Delhi airport opened a new $3 billion terminal in July.
RELATED TOPICS
  • India
  • Air Travel
  • Business

(CNN) -- After battling through a tough economic downturn during the global recession, India's aviation industry is enjoying strong growth amongst some of its largest airlines.

Jet Airways reported nationally passenger loads have increased by 13 percent since the middle of the downturn.

High traffic growth in the first quarter of the new financial year led the airline to post a $1.4 million profit compared to a loss of $46 million from the same time the previous year.

Jet also reported 35 percent international passenger growth during that same period.

"Nine consecutive months of robust growth, underline the fact that Jet Airways, as a customer centric organization has been able to comprehend and capitalize on the resurgent trend in domestic and global air traffic," Nikos Kardassis, CEO of Jet Airways said.

Kingfisher Airlines also reported a slimmer loss in the first quarter compared to the previous year.

India's airlines hopes to take advantage of the more one billion people who are increasingly traveling by air in the country.

Last month, New Delhi airport opened a brand new $3 billion terminal.

The five million square foot building was officially opened on July 3 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi.

Complete with imported granite floors, huge white columns fitted, 63 elevators, 95 immigration counters and a state of the art security and baggage system, Terminal 3 is also home to India's first transit hotel.

Officials say the new nine-level hub will be able to handle 34 million passengers per year, making it one of the biggest in the world.

"This is a confirmation that India has truly arrived on the world stage," India's Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told the crowd of invited guests. Terminal 3 is a far cry from the cramped, low tech international terminal that existed before.

CNN's Sara Sidner contributed to this report.