Airports Authority of India (AAI) which runs majority of the airports in the country and handles air traffic control at all airports in the country announces the air traffic numbers at the close of financial year (April to March) end in India.
The international air traffic grew 6.1%, while the aircraft movements were up 3.4%. On the domestic side, the aircraft movements were up by 14.1% and the traffic has grown 13.1%. International aircraft movements were 452,641 while 2,153,323 aircraft movements were recorded on the domestic side.
The top 10 International airports did not see any change in the list except for Kolkata overtaking Calicut to claim seventh position in the list. Bengaluru grew the fastest with a 17.5% increase in International traffic over last financial year. The last year has seen sustainable growth by IndiGo and Go Air from Bengaluru in additional to the airport attracting more flights from the gulf. Ahmedabad followed with 15.9% growth in International traffic, mainly fuelled by IndiGo. Kochi was the only airport in top 10 by International traffic which recorded negative growth as the passenger numbers dropped by 8.6%.
In all the International airports, Varanasi recorded a growth of 31.6% – the highest while Vizag made it to the table of top 10 International airports by passenger growth with 12.4% growth. However the commendable performance came from Bengaluru and Ahmedabad overall which recorded incredible growth even with a relatively high base.
India has seen mind boggling domestic growth in the last few years and this year was no different until Jet Airways started facing extreme high winds from January 2019. While the top 20 airports remained more or less the same, Hyderabad surpassed Chennai for the first time. The last year has seen Hyderabad see traffic with IndiGo making it a primary hub for their ATR network and the airport working towards incremental capacity with short term fixes till the new terminal comes up. Kochi dropped out of top 10, while Guwahati took its place. The major churn has been in the 11-20 places with Indore, Bagdogra and Coimbatore gaining while Srinagar and Vizag losing positions.
The outliners have been Indore and Patna which have seen air traffic grow over 30%. Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Bagdogra and Coimbatore saw over 20% growth in air traffic. The constraint airports of Delhi, Pune and Goa saw modest growth rates while the surprise came from Mumbai which saw a decline in domestic passenger traffic by 1.3%.
The top 20 airports by percentage growth in domestic air traffic throws up some interesting names on the back of very small or nil base. This includes stations which saw intermittent flights under the UDAN scheme like Jalgaon or Ludhiana. The story here has been Surat with 81.4% growth in air traffic, Tirupati with 42.7% growth and Rajahmundry with 64.3% growth. Stations which benefited from UDAN-RCS or capacity addition by airlines were Allahabad (281.2% growth), Jaisalmer (257.6% growth), Gorakhpur (152.4%).
The airports handled 69,480,768 International and 275,218,965 domestic passengers last financial years. The table saw some additions at the bottom with Indore, Coimbatore and Bagdogra making it to the list by jumping 4 places each. In the top 10, Ahmedabad climbed a rank up and replaced Kochi at seventh position. Mumbai with its congestion saw a growth of only 0.7% while Delhi maintained a steady growth of 5.4% and closed the year just shy of 70 million – a number which it will surpass in calendar year 2019 as well as financial year 2019-20 irrespective of the Jet airways crisis.
India comprises of 28 states and it makes for some interesting numbers to see the top states which contribute to the air traffic. A lot many are still serviced by a single airport and there are few like Port Blair and Chandigarh which are part of Union Territories, but it is Delhi – with a single airport which over rides every other state in the country for air traffic. The top five states are as below
Karnataka comes in at a distance third to make it clear that the air traffic in India is centered around Mumbai and Delhi.