Bengaluru, Delhi top air traffic growth in 2016

Airports in and showed the fastest growth in passenger traffic in 2016 among global peers, with a surge in domestic air travel and the introduction of new routes. 

With a 22.5% growth, airport was ranked first among airports handling 15 million-plus annually. Delhi, which recorded 21% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth, bagged the first position ahead of Incheon (South Korea) and Kunming (China), among airports handling 40 million-plus a year. The slot constrained Mumbai airport, which registered a growth of 9.9% and took the fifth position behind and the East Asian airports. 

and handed 22.2 million and 55.6 million passengers, respectively in 2016.

The ranking was released earlier this week in a report by the Airports Council International, a trade association of world airports. continues to show highest growth in the current year, and has recorded 14.9% growth in the first eight months. 

Domestic rose 23% y-o-y to 99.8 million, making India the fastest-growing air travel market in 2016. The trend continues and in first eight months of 2017, traffic rose nearly 17%, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.  

“Slots are not available at the Mumbai airport, and airlines have added new flights from and On domestic routes, and have led the capacity expansion, while introduced new international flights from to San Francisco and in end-2015 and -2016, respectively,” said Ameya Joshi, founder of aviation blog, Network Thoughts.

In fact, traffic growth at airport is faster than estimated, and the airport crossed 22 million in 2016, a year ahead of the estimate. Last December, airport handled 2.15 million passengers, the highest-ever traffic recorded in a month by an airport in southern India. 

Hari Marar, executive director and president of Bangalore International Airport Limited said in July, “ airport continues to see fantastic growth in passenger volumes. The construction of the second runway and terminal, and other associated projects are now a priority.” 

However, the rapid growth in air travel is putting a strain on airport infrastructure across the country, and even and airports are staring at shortage of slots. 

The GMR Group plans to invest Rs 16,000 crore for expansion of the airport that will double the capacity of domestic terminal T1, increase the capacity of international terminal T3, lay a new runway, and build a new terminal over the next seven years.   

The situation is no better at the Airport Authority of India (AAI)-run airports; 25 of 126 airports managed by have reached a saturation point. Over the next two to three years, seven more airports, including Varanasi, Raipur, and Indore will reach peak capacity. Both Chennai and Kolkata will require a second airport, and the has asked state governments to identify land for the same. 

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