Highest International traffic growth in first ten months of financial year 2018-19
Amritsar, March 14 (Punjab Post Bureau) – Passenger footfall for international and domestic passengers continues to record impressive growth at Sri Guru Ram Das Ji (SGRDJ) International Airport Amritsar. For the month of January 2019, growth of 47.6% was recorded, which is second highest among all the International airports in the county in comparison with the same number in January 2018. Total International passenger footfall in a month reached its highest ever number of 87,461 passengers whereas in January 2018, this number was 59,256 passengers. Earlier in December 2018, the higher even number was 83,276 passengers. Varanasi was at the top spot with growth of 73.3%.
According to Sameep Singh Gumtala, FlyAmritsar Initiative Convener & Overseas Secretary of NGO Amritsar Vikas Manch, analysis of latest passenger statistics recently released by Airport Authority of India (AAI) on its website for January 2018 also reveals that Amritsar ranks at the top place among all international airports with 28.7% growth in overall International traffic in first ten months (April-January) of the current financial year 2018-19 compared to previous 2017-18 financial year. Total international passengers for the year has reached 647,879 compared to 503,271 during the same period in previous year.
In another landmark, total monthly footfall for the second consecutive month crossed 2.5lakhs mark with a total of 256,088 lacs passengers as compared to 223,553 in January 2018, registering a growth of 14.6%. Domestic passenger footfall also grew by 2.6% with 168,627 travelers in comparison to 164,297 in January 2018.
Gumtala said, we are very encouraged that after recording highest growth among all airports in the country for domestic and total traffic in previous 2017-18 financial year, Airport is now recording highest growth in International traffic for current 2018-19 financial year. These numbers proves the fact that Punjabis especially the diaspora wishes to travel directly to Punjab instead of Delhi, if more international flights are started from the airport. We are continuously sharing data and statistics from various sources with foreign, Indian carriers and requesting them to start more flights to Amritsar. Increase in International flights and passenger numbers generates more revenue in passenger fees, more jobs and increase in cargo for the region.
Pleased with the growth Yogesh Kamra FlyAmritsar Initiative Convener (India) and additional Secretary AVM informed that currently airport is connected to 8 International destinations by 6 foreign airlines and 4 Indian carriers operating these flights. Passenger numbers would have been further better and would have catered to a wide number of passengers if there was a regular public transport connectivity of airport with various cities of Punjab. Airport has immediate catchment of air travelers from Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Moga, Ferozepur, Pathankot, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Jammu districts. FlyAmritsar Initiative and AVM has been demanding the bus service for a long time but the State government has started more buses from Punjab to Delhi ignoring International Airport in its own State. Amritsar is the only International Airport in India that doesn’t have intra-state and local public transport facility. If implemented, it will further enhance our passenger growth and get us more flights.
It is also very disheartening that the national carrier Air India operates only three days a week direct Birmingham flight despite huge demand and for the start of direct flights to London, Toronto and other destinations. During the previous UPA government, all the Air India international flights from Amritsar were re-routed via Delhi. We did not get anything special from the current government either except Birmingham, which wasn’t a new flight but re-route of Amritsar-Delhi-Birmingham flight. Foreign carriers realize the potential of traffic from the region by starting new flights but the national carrier still doesn’t have a daily international flight from Amritsar.