Friday, May 28, 2021

Chartered flights up 50% at IGI since September

New Delhi: The current Covid wave has seen a sharp rise in the number of private jets and charters being handled at the Delhi airport’s separate general aviation (GA) terminal that opened last September. Till the onset of the second wave, it used to handle over 20 flights a day, but now this number is almost 50% higher at 35.

The key reasons behind this jump are air ambulance movement, suspension of schedule commercial flights by some countries and the super rich preferring the safety and enhanced hygiene of leaving on their own jet plane instead of taking regular flights to places where the option is still available.

This is in sharp contrast to the massive fall in both domestic and international travellers that’s forced Delhi and Mumbai airports to shift all their passengers to just one terminal each.

“India’s first exclusive GA terminal for private jets was opened last September. On average, it witnessed 35 aircraft movement (ATM) per day during April as compared with 24 ATMs at the time of opening of the terminal. It saw about 1,000 aircraft movement last month,” said Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL). The operator of IGI Airport added its GA terminal had handled over 100 air ambulance flights since April, “contributing to the surge in demand”.

Rajan Mehra, CEO of Club One Air and former India head of Qatar Airways, said India had seen a significant growth in charter travel since last October. While earlier charter business used to be 70% domestic and 30% international, the restrictions on foreign flights has now changed it to 50:50.

28/05/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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