Curbs relaxed, August logged better international air traffic

While the scheduled international operations are yet to start, the ministry of civil aviation has permitted international operations under Vande Bharat Mission and Air Transport Bubbles
Passengers maintain social distance as they walk in a queue at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport to board a flight. (HT archive)
Passengers maintain social distance as they walk in a queue at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport to board a flight. (HT archive)
Published on Sep 03, 2021 11:23 AM IST
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By Neha LM Tripathi

The government has extended the suspension on scheduled international commercial flight services by another month, to September 30. While this may have brought India’s international traffic down by almost 95%, some international air traffic is on the rise because of the flights operating under special arrangements with over 24-odd countries as well as special chartered services. Last month also saw an uptick in the overseas air traffic owing to student travel.

While the scheduled international operations are yet to start, the ministry of civil aviation has permitted international operations under Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) and Air Transport Bubbles (ATB).

According to an estimate by rating agency- ICRA, the outbound passenger traffic under VBM for August 2021 rose by 218% compared to July 2021. “One of the reasons could be student outbound travel, given the autumn fall for universities and colleges internationally starts from September,” said Kinjal Shah, vice president and Co-Group Head, corporate ratings, ICRA Limited.

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The passenger traffic under VBM has been growing sequentially since June 2021 after a dip in May 2021 due to the second Covid wave.

According to ICRA, international passenger traffic for the Indian carriers stood at around 4.2 million till Aug 31, 2021. “Compared to May, traffic growth stood at 4% in June 2021, 43% in July 2021 and 47% in August 2021. Apart from student travellers, the sequential growth is attributed to relaxations by foreign nations to travel to their countries post a decline in Covid cases in India from June 2021, as well as the rising pace of vaccination,” ICRA said.

According to Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), passenger traffic between India and Dubai is seeing a steady increase after UAE recently lifted travel restrictions.

According to the August data report by the Airports Authority of India, Mumbai, Kochi and Calicut were the top airports for international traffic during July. The New Delhi airport registered 266,533 international passengers in July, up from 193,007 in the same month a year ago, while Mumbai airport recorded 101,203 international passengers during the month, up from 65,930 during the same period in 2020.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021