Hyderabad: RGIA Appears To Be Epitomising State’s Gradual Journey

Hyderabad: The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) at Shamshabad appears to be epitomising the State’s gradual journey to a new normal, with domestic operations that resumed in a calibrated mode from May 25 increasing at a faster pace than other airports in the country. According to RGIA officials, from about 3,000 domestic passengers daily in the first few weeks after May 25, the passenger footfall increased to over 20,000 daily in September, a growth of over six times. The airport has handled over 1.2 million domestic passengers from the day of recommencement till September 30, they said.

Hyderabad has also seen an uptick in air traffic movement (ATM) from about 40 daily ATMs in the first few weeks of the restart to over 230 domestic flights daily in September. Over 13,500 domestic flights were handled from May 25 to September 30.

Another major step forward was that RGIA had regained 52 destinations out of pre-Covid 55 destinations, restoring almost 95 per cent domestic connectivity till August. With a new domestic destination, Jagdalpur in Chhatisgarh from September 21, RGIA is now connected with 53 destinations in the domestic sector. Nagpur, Mangalore, Kozhikode/Calicut and Jabalpur are the latest destinations which were regained in the last four weeks. The top five destinations in the post-Covid period remain Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai.

“Initially, the airport observed unidirectional traffic due to pent-up demand, however, now the demand is gradually back to both ways,” an official said, adding that the top three airlines serving domestic traffic from RGIA were IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India. As for international flights permitted under Vande Bharat Mission and Air Transport Bubble agreements initiated among various countries, RGIA is now connected with 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. The airport on an average has witnessed over 11 international ATMs daily in September. The international numbers are expected to increase further, once the Air Transport Bubble agreement gets further enhanced covering more countries, officials said, adding that since the lockdown in March, RGIA has handled about 1.1 lakh international passengers with over 800 flights.

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