Delhi airport, ranked as the second busiest airport in the world in March, has breached the pre-Covid-19 level of daily average domestic traffic and is expected to grow further during the summer vacation, said two senior airport executives.
According to data obtained by ET, about 151,000 domestic passengers used Delhi airport on April 17, the last day of a long weekend, the largest number since the pandemic-induced shutdown began. This was also much higher than the daily average of about 129,000 passengers from January 1 to May 10, 2019.
More than 130,000 people travelled from Delhi airport every day in the past three months, which is more than the average daily passengers in 2019 from January 1 to May 10.
The top five destinations for travellers departing from Delhi airport were Mumbai, Bengaluru, Srinagar, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
“Delhi airport is operating 867 domestic flights a day on average, up from 732 in 2021 and 627 in 2020. The number of passengers has also gone up significantly,” said an airport official, who did not wish to be identified.
International passenger traffic, on the other hand, has only recovered to 60% of pre-pandemic levels. This year’s average daily international passengers is 28,000, down from about 50,000 in 2019. However, the daily average in the first ten days of May was 33,000, up from 32,800 in April, indicating month-over-month growth.
According to credit rating agency ICRA, Indian airlines’ international passenger traffic went up to 1.85 million in April after the carriers went back to their planned international operations on March 27 and again started using bilaterally negotiated capacity entitlements. “Though recovery in passenger traffic is expected to be relatively fast paced in 2022-23, given the near normalcy situation seen in domestic airline operations, the overhang of any further Covid wave looms on the sector,” said Suprio Banerjee, sector head, ICRA.