The Hyderabad International Airport has been witnessing a steady increase in domestic passenger movement after restart of operations which were adversely affected by the Covid-19-led lockdown for nearly six months.
The domestic operations resumed in a calibrated manner from May 25, and the government is also bridging the international connections under the Air Transport Bubble arrangement among consenting countries.
Both the Central and State governments under Unlock 4.0 have relaxed the quarantine norms. In Unlock 5.0, there have been further relaxations. These are expected to encourage air travel.
According to a white paper on the airport, from about 3,000 domestic passengers/day in the first few weeks post recommencement of domestic operations on May 25, passenger footfall has increased to over 20,000 per day in September 2020, an increase of over six times since the re-start. The airport has handled over 1.2 million domestic passengers from the day of recommencement till September 30.
Hyderabad has also seen an uptick in air traffic movement (ATM) from about 40 daily ATMs in the first few weeks of the restart, to over 230 domestic flights daily in September 2020. Over 13,500 domestic flights were handled from the day of recommencement till September 30.
The airport has restarted operations to 52 of its 55 pre-Covid-19 destinations, restoring ~95 per cent domestic connectivity till August 2020. With a new domestic destination — Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh, which started from September 21, the airport is now connected to 53 destinations in the domestic sector.
While Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai are the top five destinations, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India are the top three airlines in the domestic operations.
The airport has been handling international flights from March 2020 onwards. Under the Air Transport Bubble arrangement, Hyderabad International Airport is now connected with the UK, UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah), Qatar and Bahrain. The airport witnessed over 11 international ATMs daily in September 2020.
Since the start of the lockdown in March this year till September 2020, Hyderabad handled about 1.1 lakh international passengers, with over 800 flights complying with all safety protocols. This figure includes both evacuation flights under the Vande Bharat Mission, charter flights and flights under the recently introduced Air Transport Bubble arrangement.
In October 2020, the airport rolled out its indigenously developed digital solution of E-boarding services for international flights, becoming the first airport in India to do so.