Aviation in COVID-19: Glimmer of hope in domestic airport traffic, but true revival long way off

By Moneycontrol

The busiest airport in the country at Delhi bounced back into the black in March this year reporting a growth of 5.6 per cent. It catered to 2.9 million domestic passengers as compared to 2.7 million in March last year. March is the latest month for which passenger traffic data is available in the public domain with the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Delhi airport was not alone in turning the corner since the pandemic hit domestic aviation leading to a complete ban on domestic flights for two months till operations resumed on May 25 last year.

Another large airport, Hyderabad also turned the corner and reported a 10 per cent growth in domestic passengers handled in March this year at just under one million (9.9 lakh) as against 9 lakh domestic passengers handled in March 2020. Even Bengaluru showed some signs of revival as it reported a marginal loss of 0.7 per cent at 1.4 million domestic passengers as compared to 1.41 million in March 2020.

These large airports joined the growing number of airports in smaller towns and cities which returned to the positive zone beginning with Belgaum airport in Karnataka which was the first airport in the country to report a turnaround in terms of passengers handled in September last year (after May 25 when the COVID lockdown was partially lifted).

In September last year, Belgaum handled 23,170 domestic passengers as against 21,339 domestic passengers in the same month in 2019, a growth of 8.6 per cent.

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