As restrictions ease, passenger flow picks up from Chennai airport

With gradual relaxations in COVID-19 curbs in the State, air travel has started picking up pace and Chennai airport is beginning to witness a positive trajectory in passenger traffic. From recording 4.46 lakh domestic travellers in July, there was a 37% increase in the number of travellers in August, with the airport handling 6.15 lakh passengers. From Chennai, which are the cities within the country that people mostly travel to and why?

Apart from those heading out of the city for medical reasons and for making family visits, leisure and business travel has now improved marginally, according to travel experts. In the tier I category, as always, it is the metro cities that top the charts, with the maximum number of flyers going from Chennai to Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

S. Sakthivadivel, chairperson of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) said one of the main reasons for this was the limited number of international flights from Chennai. Because of this many had to necessarily travel to Delhi or Mumbai. “For instance, quite a lot of them going to the U.S. or the U.K. have to take a connecting flight from Mumbai or Delhi. Then there are some companies which expect people to turn up for a conference in person for which also they travel to these cities,” he said. Bengaluru didn’t figure in the top three because many people preferred to drive down instead of taking a flight, he said. Tier II and tier III cities are beginning to get some traffic from Chennai because of tourists. From Chennai, many go to Coimbatore and Madurai to travel to Ooty or Kodaikanal for a holiday now or to work from these places for a few weeks.

As restrictions ease, passenger flow picks up from Chennai airport

S. Jeyasekaran of TAAI, Chennai chapter, said while more people had shed their fears and were willing to go for a holiday, air travel hadn’t grown to phenomenal extent to reach the pre COVID-19 levels. “Yet, there is a positive trajectory and a marginal improvement in those opting to travel for leisure. Many take a flight from Chennai to Guwahati to travel to Meghalaya and then other north-eastern places,” he said.

Officials of Airports Authority of India said many flights from Chennai to Guwahati mostly ran at nearly full capacity. In August, 20,200 passengers flew between Chennai and Guwahati. Similarly, many took a flight to Bagdogra and Hubli for a holiday. “Newly weds and tourists are heading to Darjeeling or Gangtok from Bagdogra and we see some good number of passengers,” Mr. Jeyasekaran said.

Though the domestic traffic has been seeing a spike in Chennai airport, international traffic is very low owing to travel restrictions. “There were nearly 33,000 passengers in June. Then it rose to about 55,000 in July and last month, we handled about 81,000 passengers. There are only some limited chartered flights to Middle East, the U.K. and the U.S. and a few other destinations now,” an official said.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 9:10:40 PM |

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