Negligible rise in the number of passengers compared to last year

The number of people using the Chennai airport has increased only by 1.2 percent during April-June this year when compared to the same period the previous year. The main reason for such a small increase is the stagnant situation of domestic air travel.

According to Airport Authority of India (AAI), 33.1 lakh people passed through the airport in April-June in 2012-13 and 32.6 lakh in 2011-12.

A jarring difference can be observed in the domestic and international passenger traffic. While the domestic passenger traffic saw almost next to nil growth of 0.1 per cent, the international traffic rose by 5.3 per cent.

“There has been a lot of stress on domestic operations because the passengers’ fares have increased significantly. Also, the operational cost of the domestic flights has gone up, in turn pushing the passenger fares up. But the international traffic has witnessed a boost because the Government of India has taken up several promotional initiatives and also a lot of the international airlines have decreased the rates,” said airport director H.S. Suresh.

Every day, on an average, 23,833 people used the airport between April and June last year and 23,849 did so during the same period this year.

The international passenger traffic indicates that the airport had 12,583 passengers a day when compared to 11,949 the previous year.

The inauguration of the domestic and international terminals is not likely to encourage passenger traffic, Mr. Suresh added.

Another reason for the drastic fall in the domestic passenger movement could be attributed to the Kingfisher cancelling several flights and a heavy increase in passenger fares, said an AAI source. “This is the first time since 2008 that the domestic passenger traffic has seen a nearly negative mark. Earlier, a flight to Delhi would cost around Rs. 4,000 - 5,000. Now, you can’t fly until you shell out Rs. 8,000 - 9,000,” he said.

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