Chennai: The surge in Covid-19 cases has dramatically affected the travel plans of many in recent days, but November and December generated good passenger traffic for the city’s airlines and airport.
Passenger traffic, especially international, has grown at a faster rate despite restrictions and the need for testing, over the past two months. However, the growth of domestic traffic remained weak.
The airport received more international travelers after Delhi and Mumbai when it was far behind in domestic traffic than the other five metropolitan airports.
The airport handled 10.75 lakh of passengers in November and 12.93 lakh of passengers in December. There were 1.82 lakh of international travelers in November while it rose to 2.46 lakh of passengers in December. The number of domestic passengers was 8.93 lakh in November and 10.4 lakh in December.
There is faster growth in international passengers (up to 65%) compared to the same period last year.
An airport official said there is good demand for international travel as people from other cities board flights in Chennai. “The launch of flights to Singapore gave a boost to passenger traffic, ”he added.
S Bhaskar of the Federation of Indian Travel Agents (TAFI) said flights to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Singapore are crowded, while the Maldives remain popular. “The demand is huge on the international sector due to the limited number of flights,” he added. However, there is a lull in the domestic sector as airlines have reduced frequencies or combine flights depending on traffic in many areas.
“The airlines have taken a lot of flights to small towns and redeployed them on profitable routes. There aren’t enough flights to Port Blair, Mumbai, Ahmedabad like there used to be,” he said. -he adds. Airlines and airport authorities expect domestic passenger numbers to drop in the coming days. “People are likely to postpone their leisure travel plans after the Pongal vacation due to an increase in cases. of Covid-19, ”said an airline official.