Indore and Bhopal airports have seen an impressive growth in passenger traffic in the 2015-16 fiscal on back of falling airfares and rising income levels.
Data released by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) stated the number of flyers from Indore went up to 15.48 lakh between April 2015 and February 2016 as against 12.22 lakh in the same period previous year, showing a growth of 26.7%.
The growth in passenger traffic from Bhopal airport was more impressive, albeit on a smaller base. The number of passengers shot up to 6.07 lakh in April-February 2016 period from 3.71 lakh in the previous year, showing a jump of 63.9%.
Travel operators attribute the trend to falling airfares coupled with increase in tourists and business travellers.
“With increase in disposable incomes, people don’t mind shelling out a few hundred extra than the AC train fare if they get a direct flight,” travel agent Dilip Ramani said.
“Indore and Bhopal also attract tourists and the number is rising. Also, people travelling on business purposes now prefer flights to save time,” he said.
With private airlines coming out with promotional offers on a regular basis, the number of travellers on popular routes such as Indore-Mumbai and Indore-Delhi has shot up.
All-inclusive Indore-Mumbai and Indore-Delhi fares for those booking a month in advance are nearly the same as AC II train fare.
Indore airport director Manoj Chansoria said the growth figures were quite good but a comparative study needs to be done before any definitive conclusion could be made.
Jump in number of flights from Bhopal, Indore
There was a big jump in number of flights from Bhopal during April 2105-February 2016 period from 4,807 to 7,119 flights. The number of flights from Indore during this period increased from 13,198 to 13,627.
Indore is now connected by air to all the major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Benguluru, Hyderabad and Pune. Private airlines have launched a direct flight between Indore and Goa. Plans are afoot to launch international flights to the Gulf, with Air India scheduling a survey to assess the demand.