Hyderabad: The domestic operations at the Hyderabad International Airport have seen a steady growth since May 25 when the operations were restarted after being shut down for two months in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic. The airport has handled over 12 lakh domestic passengers from since then till September 30.

From about 3,000 domestic passengers daily in the first few weeks post recommencement, the passenger footfall has increased to over 20,000 daily in September 2020, over six times the initial numbers.

Hyderabad has also seen an uptick in the air traffic movement (ATM) from about 40 daily ATMs in the first few weeks following May 25 to over five times the number i.e. around 230 domestic flights daily in September 2020. Over 13,500 domestic flights were handled from the day of recommencement till September 30.

COVID-19 has had its impact on the aviation sector like many others. Along with the domestic operations, the government is also trying to bridge the international connections under the Air Transport Bubble among consenting countries.

“The overall perspective shows that the Indian aviation sector is gaining strength steadily. Both the central and state governments under the Unlock 4 have relaxed the quarantine norms based on passengers’ medical profile and other categories. In Unlock 5, there has been further relaxation of restrictions. This has encouraged more air travel,” said a statement from the Hyderabad Airport.

The Hyderabad airport has restarted operations to 52 out of its original 55 destinations, restoring around 95% of its domestic connectivity till August 2020. By adding a new domestic destination - Jagdalpur in Chhatisgarh - which started from 21 September, the RGIA is now connected to 53 destinations in the domestic sector. Nagpur, Mangalore, Kozhikode/Calicut and Jabalpur are the latest destinations that were recommenced in the last four weeks.

The top five destinations during the post-COVID era remain the metro cities - Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai. Initially, the airport observed unidirectional traffic due to pent-up demand, however, now the demand has gradually returned both ways.

The top three airlines part of the domestic traffic from the RGIA continue to be IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India.

Resuming International operations

From the time of lockdown from March this year to September 30, Hyderabad has handled about 1.1 lakh international passengers in over 800 flights. This figure included both evacuation flights under Vande Bharat Mission, charter flights and flights under the recently introduced Air Transport Bubble at the behest of the central government and consenting countries. Under the Air Transport Bubble arrangement, Hyderabad International Airport is now connected to the UK, UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah), Qatar and Bahrain.

Apart from these, many charters from various countries are also operating on a regular basis. Under the above arrangements, the Hyderabad International Airport has witnessed on an average of over 11 International Air Traffic Movements daily in September 2020. The international numbers are expected to increase further once the outreach of Air Transport Bubble agreement gets further enhanced covering other countries as well.

In October 2020, the Hyderabad airport rolled out its indigenously developed digital solution of e-boarding services to international flights, becoming the first airport in India to do so.

Recently, the Hyderabad airport achieved the Airport Council International’s (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation for its measures to strengthen safe travels.

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