Chandigarh airport footfall drops by 50%
Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in the region, the footfall at Chandigarh International Airport has dropped by 50%.
Even as the summer schedule that came into force on March 28 had listed 47 flights instead of 38 operating during the winter, most airlines have curtailed their operations and only 29 flights are taking off at present. Consequently, the number of daily fliers has gone down from around 7,000 in March to 3,500 in April. Before the pandemic, the airport was recording a footfall of 12,000, both at arrivals and departures, daily.
Ajay Bhardwaj, chief executive officer of the airport, said: “Most of the airlines have reduced their flights, and in April only 29 are operating. The footfall has dropped to 50%. Last year, we incurred a loss of nearly ₹40 crore on various accounts due to the pandemic and lockdown.”
Vaneet Sharma, director, Sheetal Travels, Sector 17, said: “People are only travelling for work, while families that had planned vacations have either cancelled or deferred their trips due to the second Covid-19 wave.”
Amid a drop in demand, even the last-minute fares of popular domestic sectors have gone down by 10-15%, he said.
The airport incurred heavy losses during the lockdown in 2020. Its main source of earnings is the aeronautical revenue, wherein it charges ₹800 per passenger from the airlines. For instance, a Delhi-bound flight with 80% occupancy fetches about ₹65,000 to the airport. The other sources of revenue are retail shops, office spaces, vehicle parking, and advertisements.
Only Sharjah flight passengers being tested
At present, the Mohali health authorities are only testing international passengers for Covid-19 at the airport.
While the Dubai flight has not resumed, only Sharjah flight is being operated, that too just twice a week.
Harmandeep Kaur, nodal officer for Covid-19 in Mohali, said: “We are testing only international passengers, twice a week. Domestic passengers are randomly tested at times, but not on a regular basis.”