Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha claimed on Monday it was costlier to travel in an auto-rickshaw than to travel by a flight.

Chalking out the math to compare the two travel modes, the Union Minister said while auto-rickshaws in India charge Rs 5 per kilometre, airlines charge Rs 4 per kilometre.

“Today airfare is less than that of an auto-rickshaw. You will ask how is that possible? When two people take an auto-rickshaw they pay a fare of Rs 10 which means they’re charged Rs 5 per kilometer but when you go by air you are charged Rs 4 per kilometer,” Sinha said speaking at the inaugural event of the new domestic terminal building of Gorakhpur Airport.

Talking about the growth in the aviation sector after 2013, the minister said aviation sector had seen maximum development since 2013 as the number of people commuting via airplane had swelled to double.

“Till 2013, approximately only six crore people were traveling in airplanes, but now the figures have improved. At present, as many as 12 crore people residing across the country are using airlines as a mode of transport. Earlier there were only 75 airports but today there are as many as 100 airports which are operational all over India,” he added.

This is not the first time that Sinha has drawn such an analogy regarding the prices of flights and auto-rickshaws.

Speaking at a management conference in Indore in February, he had said, “In today’s India, the fares of airplanes are lower than that of auto-rickshaws. Some people will say that I’m talking nonsense, but this is true.”

According to the minister, more people are now opting for air travel because the country offers cheapest fares in the world.