Logistics

Passengers handled: Belgaum airport ends September on positive note

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on November 18, 2020 Published on November 18, 2020

The data shows that the Belgaum airport handled 23,170 domestic passengers in September 2020   -  THE HINDU

Handled 23,170 domestic passengers in September 2020 as against 21,339 domestic passengers in the same month in 2019, a growth of 8.6 per cent

Belgaum airport in Karnataka has emerged as the first airport in the country to report a turnaround in terms of passengers handled in September this year since May 25 after the Covid lockdown was partially lifted. September is the latest month for which data is available on the Airports Authority of India (AAI) website.

When flying resumed after a two-month lockdown, most airports reported a huge drop in passenger numbers largely due to restrictions imposed by States on movement of people and different quarantine restrictions.

The data shows that the Belgaum airport handled 23,170 domestic passengers in September 2020 as against 21,339 domestic passengers in the same month in 2019, thereby reporting a growth of 8.6 per cent.

Narrowing gap

In June 2020, the Belgaum airport handled 10,224 domestic passengers, showing a decline of 28.3 per cent compared to 14,266 domestic passengers it handled in June 2019.

The airport narrowed this gap further in August 2020: it handled 17,914 domestic passengers, down 15.4 per cent from 21,175 domestic passengers in August 2019.

Nripendra Singh, Industry Principal, Aerospace, Defense & Security Practice, Frost & Sullivan, said the primary reason for this growth is the addition of destinations for airlines operating to/from Belgaum in 2020.

“TruJet became the fifth airline to fly out of Belgaum and started operating one flight per day each to Tirupati, Mysuru, Kadapa, and Hyderabad. IndiGo and Star Air added Hyderabad and Indore respectively as additional destinations,” he said. Singh, however, cautions that while the numbers at Belgaum airport look promising, this is a one-off scenario as far as an increase in passenger confidence in flying due to the pandemic is concerned.

Jagannarayan Padmanabhan Director & Practice Leader – Transport & Logistics CRISIL Infrastructure Advisory, adds: “Belgaum has been able to beat last year’s passenger traffic, and for the last three months, aircraft movements have also been higher for the corresponding period of last year. This can be attributed to its geographical proximity to three States — Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. It also has direct connectivity to a combination of Tier-1 and 2 locations.”

Distance to cover

Belgaum airport getting back into black is a significant step but is unlikely to make a big dent in the overall Indian aviation growth story as it is the metros which account for a bulk of the air passenger traffic.

The metro airports have also seen a steady growth in their domestic passenger numbers but given the numbers they handled during the pre-Covid times, they still have some distance to cover.

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Published on November 18, 2020
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