Airports in Delhi and Mumbai - the busiest in India - reported a decline on annual basis in number of passengers in 2019. This is the first time since 2008 that the airports in India's national capital and financial capital saw a dip in domestic passengers.
According to a report by the Times of India, the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi posted a decline in domestic carriage. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai reported a decline in both domestic and international passengers, the report added.
Provisional data from Delhi international airport showed it recorded 6.8 crore passengers in 2019, down 2.6 per cent from 6.98 crore in the previous year, the daily reported. IGI Airport handled around 4.9 crore domestic flyers in 2019, down 6 per cent from 5.2 crore in 2018. Meanwhile, number of international passengers increased marginally by 0.6 per cent to 1.9 crore in 2019 from 1.8 crore in 2018.
Total passenger footfall at Mumbai airport in 2019 declined 5.6 per cent to 4.7 crore passengers, as against 4.98 crore in 2018, the report said. CSMIA saw domestic passengers decline 3.4 per cent to 3.38 crore in 2019, as opposed to 3.4 per cent in 2018. Footfall of international flyers in Mumbai airport fell 7 per cent to 1.3 crore in 2019 from 1.4 crore in 2018.
The latest dip in air passengers came on the back of ongoing economic slowdown and the slew of challenges that hounded aviation sector last year. Prime among them was the downfall of Jet Airways in April 2019. Grounding of aircraft due to technical problems also kept flyers away from airports in 2019.
Last year, Airbus A320neo planes in IndiGo and GoAir fleets were grounded due to Pratt and Whitney engine troubles, whereas SpiceJet's Boeing 737 Max aircraft were grounded due to faulty flight control system that led to two fatal crashes elsewhere in the world. Airlines also had to cancel flights as Pakistan closed its airspace for Indian carriers over rising tension between the two countries.