Saturday, June 17, 2017

Flights down by half in Taj city

Even as there has been an overall surge in air traffic movement and the number of passengers opting for flights in the country, in Agra, which sees the arrival of over one crore tourists from across the globe every year, these figures are quite dismal. According to Airports Authority of India data, the number of flights landing in Agra has gone down by half, while the number of passengers by one-third over the last 17 years.
Tourism department officials said that in the absence of scheduled flights, a large number of tourists, especially foreigners, are now opting for charter flights. In 2016, as compared to 168 scheduled flights landing at Agra airport, 452 charter planes, including 30 international ones, made a stop here. At present, the flight service from Agra is limited to Khajuraho only. Earlier, there used to flights for Mumbai and Delhi from here.
The data available with AAI shows that 1,329 (804 scheduled and 505 non-scheduled) flights landed at Agra airport during 2000-01 and the year saw movement of 36,641 passengers. However, the numbers fell to 620 flights and 12,388 passengers in 2015-2016. A closer look these figures suggest that there has been a steady decline in both flights and passengers since 2000. As compared to Agra, the neighbouring tourist city of Jaipur witnessed 3,783,458 air passengers in 2016.
As far as charter planes are concerned, on an average, over 200 flights land at Agra airport every year. Jitendra Kumar Gautam, manager of Ventours International Travel, which provide charter flights, said, "Almost 95% of clients hiring charter planes to Agra are foreigners, especially from the USA. Travelers are interested in coming to Agra directly, but in the absence of regular flights, they opt for charter planes. In the US and many European countries, private flights are quite common and when people from these countries come here, they like to avail the same facility. There is a growing demand for charter flights."
17/06/17 Times of India