July 29, 2007
Taking Off: Second airports
Then: Come 2010, the Indian aviation industry will receive the 'infrastructure boost' that it has been asking for. According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, or CAPA, by 2010, India is expected to have world-class infrastructure not only in the six major metro cities but also in most of the 35 non-metropolitan cities. Several cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Goa, Bangalore and Hyderabad are in the process of constructing a second airport.
But will all the new airports be commercially viable? "Today, the focus is around 11 to 15 airports. These airports are fully saturated. It is just a question of new markets developing," says Jeh Wadia, Managing Director of GoAir. Mumbai handled most passengers, 7.3 million, growing at 9.2 per cent. Delhi was a close second with 6.7 million passengers, growing at 15.4 per cent. Chennai handled another 2.9 million passengers.
What's more interesting is the growth rate of international passengers in smaller metros and non-metro towns. Bangalore breached the million passenger mark for the first time ever, clocking a growth rate of 46.2 per cent in traffic in 2006/07. Smaller cities like Thiruvananthapuram (18.2 per cent), Kozhikode (17.1 per cent) and Amritsar (19.3 per cent) registered strong rates of growth in global traffic. With international carriers like Tiger Airways set to launch flights from Singapore to Chennai and Kochi, it is likely that traffic in these centres will spike up.
Now: No Indian city has a second airport yet. But with clearances in place, second airports in Mumbai, Chennai and Goa will be operational in the next five years.