Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi climbed to 16th place worldwide in calendar year 2017 with 63 million passengers. The airport had crossed 50 million passengers in 2016, recording 55.64 million passengers for the calendar year. The airport grew fastest in the list of top 20, recording a 14.2% growth in the statistics released by ACI.
Atlanta Airport continues to lead the list followed by Beijing which tops the list in Asia Pacific. Delhi airport has crossed Singapore and Seoul Incheon this year. Delhi and Jakarta were the new entrants in the list this year which saw Bangkok (BKK) and New York – JFK drop out. Both these cities have multiple airports. The top 20 airports worldwide carried 1,469,970,005 passengers, a growth of 5.2% over the previous year. This list comprises of nine airports from Asia – Pacific, five each from North America and Europe and one from Middle east.
However, Delhi still does not make it to the list of top 20 airports in International traffic, cargo or air traffic movements. Over the last few years, Delhi has seen exponential growth in traffic in the domestic traffic with airlines clamoring for slots. Delhi overtook Mumbai in 2009-10 and there has been no looking back since then.
This year could be challenging for Delhi airport as it struggles with limited runway capacity, reduced functioning of Terminal 1, limited operations scalability at Terminal 2 and lack of bays at Terminal 3. The slot position could marginally improve when the new Air Traffic Control tower is fully operational – something which was expected a year ago. While the impact of grounding of A320neo will be limited, will the airlines affected have aircraft to expand when the capacity is available will need to be seen. The sale process of Air India may also halt the international expansion for a while. Currently Air India is the largest International carrier out of Delhi Airport.
The airport will see another destination added – Kiev by Ukraine International Airlines in May 2018. By end of the year, it could see flights from Vietnam and Philippines and additional International services by IndiGo – either with the A321neo or the widely expected widebody operations.