IGIA handled 6 crore flyers in 2017

The Capital’s IGI Airport has become south Asia’s first airport to handle over 6 crore passengers in a year. IGIA achieved this feat in 2017 much ahead of several other big hubs in Asia, despite facing a severe infrastructure crunch given surge in demand for air travel in India.

“Indira Gandhi airport and Guangzhou’s Baiyun reached 6 crore annual passengers for the first time in late November. Singapore’s Changi hit the same mark on December 18, and Seoul Incheon crossed the milestone on December 21. Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport handled 6 crore passengers several days after Changi,” says a report by CAPA — Centre for Aviation.

In 2016, 14 airports globally handled more than 6 crore passengers, out of which only four were in Asia — Beijing Capital, Tokyo Henada, Hong Kong International and Shanghai Pudong, all in north Asia. Other five other Asian airports reached 6 crore annual passengers for the first time in 2017.

Asia now accounts for nine of the 20 airports that handled at least 6 crore passengers in 2017. Outside of Asia, Denver International was the only additional airport to cross this mark last year.

“Kuala Lumpur International and Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta should reach 6 crore annual passengers in 2018. Mumbai, Taipei and three airports in mainland China — Chengdu, Kunming and Shenzhen — will likely reach the milestone within the next few years,” CAPA says. Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd is yet to come with its annual passenger data for last year. In 2016, IGIA had seen 5.5 crore passengers — a first for any Indian airport to cross the 5 crore mark. In 2016, Mumbai was India’s second busiest airport with 4.4 passengers. Both Delhi and Mumbai are going to get second airports in the next five to six years. While Mumbai’s CSIA is already saturated, IGIA still has capacity to grow.

In a much-delayed project, IGIA is supposed to undergo a three-phase expansion which will take its capacity to saturation level of 11 crore passengers annually by 2024-25. Just when IGIA reaches its peak in terms of handling traffic, the Jewar airport is expected become operational. It would enter its expansion mode under Phase-II depending on air travel growth then.

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