Chennai

A sharp dip in air traffic in February

Fear of travelling has pushed thousands to call off their travel plans and data shows a nearly 10% fall in the number of people who took flights through Chennai airport last month.

This is more marked in the international sector, with a dip of 13.5% in passenger traffic in February, when compared to January. In the domestic sector, the number of people who travelled fell by 7.5%.

With the rapid spread of COVID-19, many flight operations have been stopped and there have been numerous cancellations as well, creating a large hole in aircraft movement last month. There were only 2,922 aircraft movements in the international sector in February, in comparison to 3,352 in January.

In the domestic sector too, there was a 10% decrease in aircraft movement in February, when compared to the previous month.

According to officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), people have refrained from travelling after reading about the number COVID-19 cases in India and across the world.

“Flight occupancy has come down drastically and the flight is half empty on numerous occasions. Even if you look at the airport, both the international and domestic terminals look a lot less crowded these days, even during peaks hours,” an official said.

Ironically, AAI officials said that when compared to the 18,21,283 passengers who travelled in February 2019, alone -18,21,283 , the passenger traffic for February 2020 was 18,83,154, showing a marginal increase of 3%.

Some passengers said that they wanted to take precautions and avoid even domestic travel. Balakumaran S., a resident of Adambakkam, said, “My company wants me to travel to Delhi for a workshop, but I have told them I cannot go. I want to be cautious and I have decided not to travel anywhere for the next few months. I don’t want to be travelling in an aircraft with several others who could possibly have some illness.” Many have also posted on Twitter about cancelling their travel plans.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 8:14:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/a-sharp-dip-in-air-traffic-in-february/article31005041.ece

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