Kochi: Low-cost flight options in abundance, an economy where cash flows freely, and people who love to travel… All these factors attributed to the huge increase in the number of domestic/international air passengers from Kerala in the recent times.
Interestingly, migrant laborers from the other parts of the country have also started to book tickets months in advance to avail discounts and lowest airfares.
The airports in Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode have witnessed a dramatic growth in passenger traffic this year, as compared to last year’s figures.
The number of new services from these airports have also increased considerably.
For the record, in total, the three airports saw a passenger traffic of 1.5 crore during the last fiscal. The spurt in air passenger traffic is giving wings to Kerala’s development dreams as it is expected to translate into more employment opportunities in the state.
Kochi tops the list
In terms of passenger movement and travel business, the Cochin International Airport recorded the highest growth among the three major airports. The facility saw a passenger traffic of 89.4 lakh during the 2016-17, compared to the 77.5 lakh passengers during the previous year. There was an increase of 7.7 percent in the number of international travelers and 26 percent rise in domestic passenger traffic.
International travelers accounted for about 60 percent of the total passenger traffic at the Cochin airport, while the remaining 40 percent traveled to other Indian cities. That means about 50 lakhs of air passengers used the airport to travel abroad.
The Cochin international airport occupies the fourth position in the country in terms of international passengers followed by Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
In total, twenty-four airlines, both international and domestic, have their operations in Kochi.
According to data available, aircraft movement here, including landings and take-offs, is 1,400.
T3, the new international terminal at the Cochin airport, which will be fully operational from April 18, will further expand the airport’s international operations.
TVPM records significant growth
The Thiruvananthapuram international airport recorded a growth of 12.4 percent in passenger traffic during the last financial year. Growth was recorded in both international domestic passengers, which stood at 15.8 lakhs and 23 lakhs respectively, and 38.8 lakhs in total. Notably, the passenger traffic has grown significantly despite the partial closure of the runway for three months to fix wear and tear.
In the 2015-16 period, the airport received 34.17 lakhs passengers, that include 22.5 lakhs international travelers and 11.9 lakh domestic passengers.
Kozhikode on track to improve figures
The total number of passengers traveled from the Kozhikode international airport last year was 24 lakhs. As many as 20 lakhs foreign travelers and 4 lakhs domestic travelers used the facility during the period under review. A year ago, the total numbers were 23 lakhs, comprising 19,39,130 international and 3,66,696 domestic passengers.
With the announcement of the summer schedule of flight operations from the Kozhikode airport, the domestic passenger traffic is expected to rise by 50 percent. The number of flight services have also increased to 36 from 26.
Together, the three airports recorded an increase of 13.4 percent in passenger traffic to 1.528 crore last year as compared to the 1.34 crore registered during the 2015-16 fiscal.
However, these airports find themselves at a disadvantage, for, no international operators have yet come forward to provide direct flight connections from Kochi to Europe or the US.
Last year, in a bid to woo airline operators, the Cochin International Airport Ltd had announced that they were ready to wave-off parking and landing for one year for operators willing to launch direct service to Europe.