Tier-II cities driving growth in domestic aviation sector

Tier-II cities like Ranchi, Surat, Vijayawada, Bhuba­n­eswar and Varanasi are driving the aviation growth story in the country, with an impressive rise in passenger traffic in the past year, according to data compiled by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The 26-per cent growth in the domestic aviation sector was largely because of the demand that is being generated from these tier-II cities and the addition of new routes and services, an AAI official said. The regional connectivity scheme is another factor for the rise in traffic, the official added.

Ranchi, for example, has seen a 90-per cent growth in passenger traffic in March this year as compared with the same period last year. The growth in Surat has been an overwhelming 179 per cent, registering 65,373 passenger movements in March against 23,367 during the month last year, according to the latest AAI data.

Likewise, the passenger growth rate in March has been around 53 per cent in Bhubaneswar, 86 per cent in Mangalore, over 85 per cent in Vijayawada and more than 69 per cent in Amritsar. The growth rate is significantly higher in these cities even in comparison to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai.

While the domestic passenger growth rate for Del­hi stood at 18.7 per cent, it was 17.8 per cent in Mumbai, though both these airports at present are facing a capacity constraint and are unable to meet the increasing demand for slots. Bangalore has seen the highest growth rate of 54.6 per cent among the major airports.