Last month, a relative of mine returned from the UK after five long years. When I asked him what he felt coming back to India, he said that it was like travelling in a tram after a bullet train ride. Life had slowed down. Transportation, in particular, was painfully slow. In the course of our conversation, he asked me whether we still considered aviation as a luxury or as an essential commodity. This question got me thinking and as a researcher, I turned to numbers for answers.