Delhi, Mumbai, Hbad air traffic rises 10%

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai | Updated: Jun 19 2010, 04:46am hrs
With international and domestic carriers increasing their flight frequencies as travel picks up on the back of an economic revival, Mumbai, New Delhi and Hyderabad have registered an average growth of over 10% in the financial year 2009-10. For instance, the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai handled 25.6 million passengers in 2009-10 as against 23.4 million last year, up 9%.

Currently, the Indian aviation industry flies an average 4 million passengers a month and is growing at 15% per annum.

Ankur Bhatia, executive director, Bird Group, says, The over 10% growth in air traffic cannot be considered significant because the figures are for two years due to a de-growth earlier. Since air traffic is picking up, there could be a good jump in traffic figures in the future.

However, reasons for the growth in air traffic at Indian airports abound. First, in 2008- 2009, many international, and even domestic carriers, had curtailed their frequencies into India due to a slump in air travel. There are 70 international carriers operating to and from India. The one which had postponed its India plans during the year include FlyDubai. Singapore Airlines had reduced frequencies to Bangalore and Chennai to daily flights from 10 flights a week and 11 flights a week, respectively, at that time.

Back home, private carrier Jet Airways in 2008-09, had to drop Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco route and later the Amritsar-London route was also called off. These routes contributed nearly half of Jets international losses in the September quarter of 2008-09. The airline suffered a pre-tax loss of Rs 289 crore on international operations during the period. Also, growing losses had prompted the airline to slow its expansion plans at that time.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Airport (domestic and international), run by the GMR Group, recorded an overall growth of 14%, by recording a passenger traffic of 26.1 million for 2009-2010.