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Amritsar fastest-growing big airport: AAI

January 12, 2019 05:43 AM


Amritsar fastest-growing big airport: AAI

New Delhi:

In terms of passenger growth, Amritsar, Bagdogra and Patna were the fastest growing big Indian airports in 2018 as compared to the previous year, Airports Authority of India (AAI) data reveals.

Among big airports — that handle over 20 lakh passengers yearly — Amritsar logged the highest passenger growth with a 48.1% increase in flyer number in 2018 over 2017. Bagdogra and Patna followed closely at 48% and 47.3% growth, respectively.

Ironically, almost all the airports handle traffic way beyond their built capacity resulting in choked terminals and runways. While India has been the world’s fastest-growing aviation market globally in the past few years, airport infrastructure hasn’t developed at the same pace.

The story was the same for AAI airports, as well as the JV ones like those in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Mumbai’s CSIA has no scope to grow and the mega city will now see more flight capacity only when the second airport hopefully opens in Navi Mumbai 4-5 years later.

The overall passenger numbers for 2018 are yet to be issued by the DGCA. “We have collected data for the 21airports (AAIrun and not the JV ones at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kochi) that handled over 20 lakh passengers last year. The growth has been phenomenal,” said a senior AAI official. Of the top 10 fastest growing airports (see graphic), only Patna’s growth came entirely from domestic flyers as the airport does not have international flights.

‘Average growth rate in top 10 airports is above 23%’

Two of these airports — Bhubaneshwar and Indore — saw their international traffic grow by more than double — 218% and 147% — respectively.

“The average growth rate in the top 10 airports is above 23%,” said the AAI official. This is much more than the 6% and 4% growth recorded by India’s busiest airports — Delhi IGIA and Mumbai CSIA — as these two mega hubs are operating at capacity with very little scope to handle more flights or passengers in their existing infrastructure.

According to DGCA data, India had 12.6 crore domestic flyers in January-November 2018, up 19.2% from 10.6 crore in the same period the previous year. The regulator has so far compiled the number of international flyers to and from India in the January-September period which was 4.69 crore last year, up 8% from 4.34 crore in the same period in 2017.

“While traffic grew, there was no action on augmenting airport infra across India,” said a senior pilot

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