Indians are flying high like never before, but traffic jams in the skies and crawls on the ground in airports could dent the year-end revelry.
On December 22, the weekend before Christmas, nearly 1,50,000 people will criss-cross the country on various airlines, setting a record of sorts. Last year, the figure was around 100,000.
Air India has so far booked more than 30,000 passengers for December 22, across various domestic destinations, and the numbers are growing every day. Last year, AI (then known as Indian) flew more than 36,000 passengers during the Christmas weekend and airline officials say that early trends suggest that this year’s figure could well pip last year’s numbers.
Low-cost carrier SpiceJet also said that it was flying full capacity during the Christmas weekend, and would be flying more than 18,000 passengers.
The official estimates from other airlines were not available, but travel industry analysts said almost all of them would be flying near-capacity on December 22.
Travel analysts say that airports are not equipped to handle the rush. “No airport in India is equipped to handle the unprecedented rush. Airport capacity cannot be increased overnight,” said Keyur Joshi, COO of travel service firm makemytrip.com.