Tuesday, August 04, 2020

During lockdown, B’luru, Kol airports busier than Mumbai’s

Mumbai: Bangalore airport has overtaken Mumbai airport to become the second busiest airport in India, shows Airports Authority of India passenger traffic data for the months between April and June. For now, technically, Mumbai is the fourth busiest airport in India, beaten by Kolkata as well. While this has much to do with the Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions imposed on Mumbai airport by its state government, the data is a harbinger of changes to come as Bangalore airport is poised to overtake Mumbai in the next four to five years, say aviation consultants.
Between April and June 2020, Bangalore airport handled a total of 4.5 lakh passengers, Kolkata handled 3.9 lakh passengers, while Mumbai handled only 3.2 lakh passengers. Delhi airport stayed at the top with 12.3 lakh passengers. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) data covers all domestic and international passengers who passed through these airports, including those on scheduled, repatriation and charter flights. Till March, Delhi was India’s busiest airport followed by Mumbai and third Bangalore.
When domestic air travel resumed on May 25, the civil aviation ministry allowed airports to handle upto a third of their pre-COVID capacity. For Mumbai, it would have been about 350 flights per day. But the Maharashtra state government added further restrictions and permitted Mumbai airport to handle only 25 flight movements per day, which was later increased to 100 flights per day.

The current slide in Mumbai airport’s passenger traffic ranking is a scenario that’s set to repeat in the years to come, long after Covid-19 loosens its debilitating chokehold on air transport. The reason? Bangalore airport commissioned a new parallel runway in December last year, allowing two runway operations simultaneously. Bangalore airport handled about 760 flights per day last winter as against Mumbai’s daily average of 960 flights.
“Mumbai airport can increase passenger handling capacity to only 55-60 million. Bangalore airport could reach Mumbai airport’s passenger traffic threshold in 4-5 years under normal circumstances. Its parallel runway and new infrastructure will fast track growth,’’ said Kapil Kaul of global aviation consultancy firm, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.
05/08/20 Times of India
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