Monday, December 27, 2021

Flyer traffic from Mumbai to non-metros soars beyond pre-Covid times

Mumbai: Rajkot is air-linked with Mumbai by an hour-long flight that has nothing in particular to make it stand out, except when Covid is factored in.

When all domestic flights that operate out of Mumbai are considered, it is this city in Gujarat, along with a handful of others, that have surpassed their pre-Covid passenger traffic numbers. Rajkot has clocked the highest growth in passenger traffic—107%—when pre-Covid January 2020 numbers are compared with the current traffic.

“With the ease in travel restrictions across India and more and more travellers being double vaccinated, Mumbai airport has witnessed over nine domestic destinations surpassing pre-Covid levels,” said Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL). Leading the growth trajectory is passenger traffic from Tier-II and Tier-III markets, it added.

In the first 15 days of December, about 16,000 passengers flew between Mumbai and Rajkot, which was a 107% gr-owth as compared to the pre-Covid period—the first 15 day of January 2020. Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh comes in second with a 73% growth as co-mpared to pre-Covid times, according to MIAL data. But when the December data is co-mpared to January 2019 data, Jabalpur’s passenger traffic growth stands at 98%, the highest among this lot. Then there is Vishakhapatnam with a 68% growth (January 2020 vs December) and the rest are Aurangabad, Chandigarh, Gorakhpur, Kandla, Madurai and Srinagar.

For sure, all these cities register a much slimmer volume of passenger traffic than, say the bigwigs like Delhi, Bengaluru, and Panaji which are yet to surpass their pre-Covid numbers. Their smaller base numbers also explain the stupendous growth percentages these nine cities have registered. “Nevertheless, it is a clear indicator of the rising popularity of flights to non-metro destinations out of metros,” said an airline official. “The demand has far overtaken supply, which is why passengers to non-metros end up paying almost double the price for their flight tickets as compared to those who fly to metros, even when these tickets are booked in advance.”

27/12/21 Times of India

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