When the International Air Transport Association director general and chief executive officer Giovanni Bisignani was told that Terminal 3 of the Delhi International Airport would be completed in 36 months, the Italian chief of the aviation trade body that represents 93 per cent of scheduled air traffic had taken the timeline with a pinch of salt. After all, Indian infrastructure projects have a chequered history of delayed implementation.
But on Thursday, when Business Standard asked him what he felt about the Indian aviation sector, Bisignani was effusive in praise of the project that was completed in record time by a joint venture consortium of GMR Group, Airports Authority of India, Fraport and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.
"In India, infrastructure was seen as a problem because of the time (taken) for execution. But the example of Delhi is really amazing.
"I think India astonished everybody, and Delhi is an example of a great airport," said Bisignani. "India needs more miracles like this."
Despite the bullishness associated with India, IATA has flagged taxation and fuel charges as key areas of concern for the aviation industry in the subcontinent, which is among the fastest growing in the world.
In April, for instance, IATA figures indicated that the Indian domestic passenger market grew by 25.6 per cent year-on-year, the most prolific globally.
Moreover, it was India, along with China, that helped Asia-Pacific carriers grow by 5.1 per cent in the same period, in spite of Japanese international traffic falling by a substantial 20