COVID-19 effect: Traffic at KIA plummeted by 66% last fiscal
The pandemic, subsequent lockdowns, countries prohibiting or restricting flights, and the impact on tourism and fear of travelling have taken a huge toll on passenger movement and air traffic at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). In 2020-21, which Bangalore International Airport Ltd. (BIAL) described as “unprecedented”, KIA saw its passenger traffic fall by 66%.
In 2019-20, around 32.3 million passengers passed through KIA. The number plummeted to 10.91 million the following year.
International routes, which saw four million passengers in 2019-20, were the worst affected, with KIA recording a decline of 90%. In 2020-21, only 0.46 million international passengers passed through the airport.
Domestic travel, too, was hit. In a press release issued this week, BIAL stated that 10.45 million passengers flew domestic routes last financial year, recording a 63% drop, as compared to 27 million in 2019-20.
Last year, KIA resumed domestic flight operations on May 25 after a gap of two months because of the lockdown. While passenger movement gradually started to rise, it plummeted again with the second wave of COVID-19. “This is mainly attributed to the continued suspension of international flights and COVID-19 restrictions across the globe. After showing signs of recovery during the middle of the fiscal year, the traffic dropped significantly with the rise in COVID-19 cases in India starting February 2021,” the BIAL said in the release.
In the same period, air traffic movement (ATM) dropped by 50% — to 1,13,993 from 2,31,051 in 2019-20. While domestic movement saw a reduction of 49%, international traffic saw only 11,192 air traffic movements — lower by 61% in the last 311 days of operations, said the BIAL.
Incidentally, according to BIAL, the pandemic had only a “marginal” impact on cargo operations. Cargo processed during 2020-21 was 3,26,643 MT — 12.7% short of last fiscal’s 3,74,181 MT. The domestic tonnage of 2020-21 was 1,19,125 MT — 20% short of the previous year’s tonnage — while the international was 2,07,518 MT (7% short). “Bengaluru airport was the only major airport in the country to reach 100% of the previous year’s tonnage on a year-on-year basis from September 2020 through January 2021. In March, it regained momentum, recording 34,401 MT — the highest in the last 31 months,” said BIAL.