The smaller the airport, the superior has been the growth in passenger traffic during the financial year 2022-23 for almost all of the existing airports in Gujarat, where the government is planning to develop 11 new airports and expand nine of the 11 existing ones.
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport at Ahmedabad handled 1.01 crore passengers in 2022-23 registering a growth of almost 79 per cent compared to the previous year. In comparison, a smaller airport at Bhuj handled fewer passengers compared to Ahmedabad, but clocked an impressive 156 percent growth in passenger traffic during 2022-23, states the Airport Authority of India (AAI) data.
- Also read: Gujarat to get 11 new airports
Similarly, the airport at Jamnagar, which serves the industrial cluster around it and is near Dwarka, saw a 98 percent rise in passengers. Another small airport at Bhavnagar, where AAI has sought 237 acres of land from Gujarat government, also saw a 77 percent in passenger traffic.
Except for Mundra (a private airport) and Kandla ---where passenger traffic during the year fell by -32 percent and -16 percent respectively --- all other airports in the state have seen a growth in passenger traffic. Passengers handled by Surat (33 percent), Vadodara (89 percent), Rajkot (83 percent), Porbandar (27 percent) and Keshod have all seen a spike in traffic during 2022-23.
MoU with AAI
On Wednesday, Gujarat government signed an MoU with AAI to exponentially expand the civil aviation network in the state. This includes the expansion of nine existing airports ---- and the setting up of 11 greenfield airports in the state. Gujarat government officials attributed the increasing number of flyers as one of the reasons for exploring the possibility of constructing new airports and expanding existing ones.
Larger airports like Ahmedabad which is currently being operated by Adani Group are already beefing up their infrastructure. “In the first eight months of this financial year, we have already served more than 75 lakh passengers. We have expanded our security check-in area, boarding gates, and other services to meet the rising number of passengers,” Adani Group sources said.
To serve the rising number of passengers, the number of flights operating out of airports in Gujarat have also risen during 2022-23. In smaller airports like Bhuj, there was a 225 percent rise in aircraft movements. In larger airports of the state like Ahmedabad and Surat, it was 56 percent and 39 percent, respectively for the last fiscal.