Delhi airport handles 2 mn domestic passengers in Oct, expects to soon return to pre-COVID volumes
Mumbai, Dec 01: Delhi airport on Tuesday said it handled about 2 million domestic passengers in October on the back of festive season travel demand, and expects to return to pre-lockdown volumes soon.
Besides, the airport witnessed a healthy growth in international passenger numbers, achieving 1 million passenger mark in October since the resumption of air services from May 25, the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) said in a release.
The airport has witnessed a significant rise in passenger footfall ever since air services resumed after two-months long lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic. It successfully handled around 1.9 million domestic passengers in October, which is about 42 per cent of the pre-COVID domestic traffic handled, DIAL said.
With demand for air travel getting a boost in the wake of festive season of Navratri, Diwali and Chhath Puja, Mumbai, Patna, Srinagar, Bengaluru, Hyderabad have emerged as the top five domestic destinations, it said. In the international segment, Delhi handled more than 66 per cent of the combined traffic of three metro airports in October, while in the domestic segment, it handled more than 48 per cent of the combined traffic of three metro airports, DIAL said.
"With the recent announcement by the government to permit up to 70 per cent of domestic slots in the coming days, we are hopeful of achieving the pre-COVID levels soon," DIAL CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar said.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri has expressed confidence that passenger traffic would reach pre-COVID levels by January 2021, the release said. Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola had last week said that almost 65 per cent of the domestic traffic is back to pre-pandemic levels, and with reopening of more and more business and trade activities, the domestic traffic may return to normal level in the next 2-3 months.
According to DGCA data, released on November 19, domestic traffic declined 57 per cent year-on-year in October amid the pandemic, despite a 33 per cent increase sequentially over September. The Delhi airport handled 69 domestic destinations in October as compared to 67 destinations in pre-COVID times, DIAL said.
Besides, it connected with 66 international destinations through 'Vande Bharat Mission' flights. As ofOctober, Delhi airport is connected with 26 destinations in Asia, 14 in Middle East, 11 in Europe, eight in North America, including the US, four in Africa and three in Australia, it said, adding that it also registered a significant number of inbound international travellers from Dubai, Changi, Bangkok, Heathrow and Kathmandu during the festive season.