Jet’s departure leaves slots at Mumbai airport vacant; number of fliers dips
The country’s second busiest airport, after Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, saw a 6.92% decline in passenger growth in the first half of 2019 as compared to the same period last year.Updated: Aug 16, 2019 03:14 IST
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) witnessed a decline in passenger growth this year, according to data released by Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The country’s second busiest airport, after Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, saw a 6.92% decline in passenger growth in the first half of 2019 as compared to the same period last year. Experts attributed this mostly to the grounding of Jet Airways.
“Jet’s exit has released plentiful slots, in particular at India’s most congested airport, Mumbai. Mumbai’s CSMIA, being Jet’s base, is the hardest hit, with both domestic and international routes seeing sizeable loss of capacity,” said Kapil Kaul, chief executive officer of Centre for Asia Pacific Association (CAPA), for the Indian subcontinent and Middle East.
Kaul also said Mumbai routes saw a sizeable loss of capacity and gave the example of the Mumbai-London sector which saw a 57.3% decrease in the number of passengers.
According to AAI’s data, April saw the sharpest decline in domestic traffic: 22.9% as compared to 22.3% in April 2018. Between January and March this year, the airport saw 3.682 million international passengers as compared to 3.518 million in the same period last year. For domestic passengers, the number went down to 7.926 million between January and March, from 9.152 million in the same period in 2018.
AAI puts international passenger traffic at 4.513 million between April and June in 2018. This year, the number dropped to 4.279 million.
The number of domestic passengers was 8.059 million in the same period this year, compared to 8.977 million between April and June, 2018.
Jet Airways, which shut down operations in April this year, was the largest operator at Mumbai airport.
This meant an increase in passenger shares for Vistara, SpiceJet and AirAsia. CAPA (India) said in May that infrastructure shortages – airlines faced slot constraints, particularly during peak hours, at all metro airports – would ease for other carriers as Jet Airways’s exit had made 800 weekly slots available in New Delhi and Mumbai alone.
While the partial shutdown of the airport due to the repair work earlier in the year affected air traffic, experts said that it didn’t have a large-scale impact on passenger traffic.
“Apart from Jet’s shutdown, Mumbai airport saw less traffic for a month when the re-carpeting of the runway was done from early February to March 30. Though the re-carpeting work did affect air traffic, it couldn’t have affected at macro level,” said an industry expert on condition of anonymity.
First Published: Aug 15, 2019 23:57 IST