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Delhi’s IGI airport records lowest passenger growth, says data

According to data released by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Delhi airport handled 69.23 million passengers in 2018-19, 5.4% more than the previous year.

delhi Updated: May 20, 2019 03:06 IST
Data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) a few days ago revealed that industry witnessed lowest passenger growth rate since June 2014 in March this year.(PTI FILE)

Last financial year, Delhi airport, the busiest in the country, recorded lowest growth rate in terms of passengers since 2012-13. Mumbai airport, which is the second busiest in India, also registered a measly growth of 0.7% in passenger traffic.

According to data released by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Delhi airport handled 69.23 million passengers in 2018-19, 5.4% more than the previous year. Before the last financial year, the airport has maintained a consistent double-digit growth rate. In 2017-18, it was 13.8%, in 2016-17 19.2%, in 2015-16 18.1% and in 2014-15 the passenger traffic growth rate was 11.1%. For Mumbai airport, passenger traffic growth fell from 8.4% in 2017-18 and to 7.4% in 2018-19.

Data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) a few days ago revealed that industry witnessed lowest passenger growth rate since June 2014 in March this year. “This is a sign of various factors impacting the aviation sector and shutting down of Jet airways and Sri Lank attack will further dent the sector,” said an airport official.

A cash crunch prompted Jet Airways’s unpaid lessors to repossess many aircraft in its fleet ultimately leading to temporarily shutdown of its operation. IndiGo had to cancel 30 flights a day in February and March because of a shortage of pilots. An escalation in India-Pakistan tensions, following a dogfight between their fighter planes over the Line of Control in Kashmir, forced Pakistan to shut its airspace towards the end of February, forcing airlines to divert their flights. SpiceJet had to ground its Boeing Max 737s in line with a DGCA order after the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight. Air India also grounded about two dozen aircraft in two months.

With just 0.14% growth in air travellers in March, growth rate continued going down from January onwards when it hit the single digit mark for the first time.

Industry experts said that capacity has gone down severely due to multiple factors leading to increase in fare.

Last month, Hindustan Times had reported that almost 80,000 passengers had their flights cancelled in February, the highest ever, reflecting the combined impact of the grounding of about Jet Airways planes and curtailing of its schedule by IndiGo, India’s largest airline by market share. The number increased to 2.72 lakh in March.

Delhi’s IGIA, in 2017, made it to the list of the top 20 busiest airports of the world. Also an internal report of Delhi International Airport Limited suggest that Delhi’s compound annual growth rate of four years is fastest among world’s busiest airport handling 40 million passengers per year.

In the internal report, DIAL has predicted the traffic to reach 95 million in 2023 and said that the expansion plan is as per schedule.

First Published: May 19, 2019 23:54 IST