Major airports across the state of Andhra Pradesh registered substantial growth in their passenger traffic for the first 9 months of this fiscal compared to the same period last fiscal.
Reflecting a buoyant economy and a hopefully receding pandemic, passengers returned in large numbers to flying thereby surpassing April to December 2021 numbers.
Vizag airport which recently completed its expansion at Rs 60 crores saw a significant surge in its passenger numbers for April to Dec 2022 in comparison to the same period in 2021.
The airport handled over 1.7 million passengers (April to Dec 2022) compared to 1.15 million it handled in the same nine-month period in 2021.
‘We expect to close this fiscal with passenger numbers of 2.3-2.4 million’ said Mr K Srinivasa Rao, Vizag’s airport director (albeit still short of its pre pandemic levels and its highest no. of 2.85 million passengers handled in 2018-19).
Comparatively smaller airports like Rajahmundry and Tirupati saw a more than 60 % growth in their passenger traffic (See graph-Pg 1).
Similarly Vijayawada airport too witnessed an over 60% increase in its passenger numbers and are said to have reached their pre pandemic numbers.
‘We are confident on crossing the 1 million mark by the end of this fiscal’ said Vijayawada’s airport director Mr Mallakanti Lakshmi Kantha Reddy.
Both Vizag and Vijayawada airports are aggrandizing their infrastructure to cater to the growing demand.
With the expansion of the terminal at Vizag airport complete it is now equipped to handle 3.5 million passengers annually as an additional 10,000 sqm space has been added to the existing 20,000 sqm.
The peak hour domestic handling capacity of the airport has now gone up to 600 from the previous 450.
Further enhanced parking space and other facilities have been added such as two new baggage handling belts for international arrivals and 4 additional departure gates have been added. Vijayawada airport shall soon be adding 6 more parking facilities which will take the total no of parking bays to 22. The additional parking bays are slated to be commissioned on Jan 26th 2023.
Some of the new connections added at Vizag airport have been that of Akasa Air’s flight to Bengaluru and India One Air’s flight to Jeypore in Odisha. Mr K Srinivasa Rao mentioned that Akasa Air is looking to further enhance its connectivity from Vizag to other destinations.
Vijayawada airport too is looking to ramp up its domestic connections and add new destinations.
The airport still doesn’t have a direct connection to India’s financial capital Mumbai and neither to Kolkata. ‘We have already proposed a direct connection for Mumbai’ informed Mr MLK Reddy and added that an additional flight to Delhi has also been requested for.
‘We have 2 daily flights to Delhi which are going full hence have proposed another one’ stated Mr MLK Reddy.
In terms of international connectivity Vizag airport has been operating a direct flight to Singapore operated by Fly Scoot Airlines while Vijayawada airport has a direct flight to Sharjah thrice a week.
Both the flights are understood to be doing good numbers in terms of load factor.