Sunday, February 10, 2019

Surat airport crosses one-million passenger mark in 2018-2019

Surat: Before international flight operations commence on February 16, passenger traffic has for the first time crossed one-million mark from Surat airport in 2018-19 until February 9, 2019. In less than three years, passenger traffic has increased from 15,000 to 1.45 lakh per month, airport sources said.

According to Airports Authority of India (AAI), Surat airport has achieved exponential growth in terms of passenger traffic thanks to increase in number of flights in the last one-a-half-year. At present, Surat airport is served by 27 flights of SpiceJet, Air India, AirAsia, IndiGo and Ventura AirConnect to various domestic destinations.

Interestingly, growth of Surat airport started after a few industrialists from the textile industry offered bank guarantee of Rs3 crore to Air India for operating Airbus between Surat and New Delhi. BJP MP CR Paatil, a close confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had lobbied with the loss-making national carrier for the flight.

It was on October 1, 2015 that Air India commenced its inaugural Airbus between New Delhi and Surat. After a few months of operations, Air India also provided an ATR aircraft on the New Delhi-Surat route to cater to increase in passenger traffic.

Following the successful Air India operations, SpiceJet, which had withdrawn its flight services from Surat after a buffalo-hit its aircraft in 2014, announced its reentry into Surat sector with the operation of Surat-Delhi flight in 2017.
10/02/19 Melvyn Reggie/Times of India
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