Kerala

Kerala outpaces neighbours in international passenger volume in current fiscal

Despite high air fares and airlines flying less than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, Kerala has clearly outpaced many of its neighbours in the international passenger movements after the post-pandemic era, chiefly driven by the surge in summer vacation travel of Gulf expatriates.

As many as 29 airports in the country together handled 1.19 crore international passengers in the first quarter of the current fiscal (April to June) as per the statistics tabled by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in Parliament.

Among various airports, the Delhi International Airport handled the bulk of the passengers with 32.28 lakh, followed by Maharashtra and Kerala with 22.05 lakh and 21.99 lakh respectively. In the South, Kerala has become a segment leader in international volume, with four airports in the State accounting for 18.48% of the total international passengers during this period, while Tamil Nadu handled only 11.09% (except Madurai airport), followed by Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Among the airports, the Delhi airport stood in the first position, followed by Mumbai, Chennai and Cochin airports. Similarly, the Indian carriers have handled a total of 32.47 lakh passengers to and from the Gulf region during this period. While considering the fact that Kerala’s 90% of international passenger movement is Gulf-based, more than 50% of the Gulf passengers who travelled during this period were to and from Kerala.

In the South, Kerala has a clear edge in international travel. Compared to Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai airports, which cater to international destinations in Europe and other parts of the world, the Cochin international airport came in the third position, mainly catering to Gulf passengers, other than a few Far East destinations.

There is a clear and steady uptick in the inbound and outbound international passenger movements from Kerala-based airports after the pandemic. The summer vacation in the Gulf, coupled with leisure travel to various destinations and job-related travel to West Asia have helped airlines post an impressive performance during this period, said an airline officer.

Predatory pricing

Biji Eapen, national president, International Air Transport Association (IATA) Agents Association of India, said though there is a surge in passenger volume, the airlines are still going ahead with predatory pricing, jacking up fares 300-600% on popular routes.

They have pressed only 72% of their combined fleet strength in order to jack up the fares, which is a sort of cartelisation. Demand will be up when there is lesser number of seats and they have been making a windfall by deliberately creating a shortage of seats, said Mr. Eapen.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 8:25:55 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-outpaces-neighbours-in-international-passenger-volume-in-current-fiscal/article65746908.ece