Friday, February 12, 2021

Passengers at Madurai airport only 70% of pre-Covid times

Madurai: The aviation sector is yet to recover from the impact of Covid-19 despite more flights resuming operations and more destinations being added. While passenger traffic is seeing month-on-month growth, it is yet to be anywhere near pre-Covid days. The number of passengers using Madurai airport has been on the rise ever since it was opened in May after being shut for two months due to the pandemic. However, achieving pre-Covid levels is not in sight any time soon.

There is a 70% drop in the number of passengers handled by the airport between April and December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Officials at Madurai airport say that month-on-month growth of passenger number has been encouraging.

For instance, 83,540 passengers were handled in January which is 16% higher compared to December 2020. The airport handled about 70% of the monthly average of passengers of the pre-Covid-19 era in January. The average monthly footfall in Madurai airport before the pandemic struck was 1.2 lakh.

Airport authorities say it is not fair to compare numbers with the pre-Covid era as many people are still scared of travelling despite the best possible safety measures being taken by Airports Authority of India and airlines. They expect people to realize it soon and plan their travel.

Madurai airport director S Senthil Valavan said that apart from safety measures, they have taken up work to meet the infrastructure requirement in the post-Covid era. The proposal to expand the terminal building is inching closer to approval. Work like land acquisition for runway expansion is also getting closer to completion. Both the state government and AAI are very positive about the construction of the underpass required for the runway expansion.

12/02/21 V Devanathan/Times of India

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