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Posted at: Feb 4, 2019, 7:01 AM; last updated: Feb 4, 2019, 2:45 PM (IST)

48% jump in foreign air traffic in Amritsar

Passenger footfall crosses 2.6 lakh-mark
48% jump in foreign air traffic in Amritsar

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3

With the introduction of direct international flights and better infrastructure, the Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport here has witnessed a 48 per cent growth in passenger footfall, data provided by the Airports Authority of India suggests.

In December 2018, the airport saw its highest-ever international commuter footfall of 83,276 as against 56,284 in December 2017.

Similarly, the passengers carried by international airlines during the first nine months (April-December) in the 2018-19 fiscal reached 5.6 lakh as against 4.4 lakh during the corresponding period of the previous year —  a growth of 26.2 per cent, the second highest after Coimbatore (27.7%). 

This is being attributed to the launch of four direct international flights in 2018 by Air India to Birmingham, Air Asia X (Kuala Lumpur), IndiGo (Dubai) and Spicejet (Bangkok). While the major factor for the boost in total passenger traffic is international, the contribution of domestic traffic is also significant. The domestic passenger footfall at the airport increased by 8.6 per cent to highest-ever 1,76,898 in December 2018, up from 1,62,932 in December 2017. More flights are expected to start from the airport soon as three new destinations (Patna, Jaipur, Kolkata) have been awarded under the UDAN-3 scheme. Currently, the airport is directly connected to nine domestic and eight international destinations.

The total monthly footfall of passengers reached an all-time high of 2,60,174 in December 2018, surpassing its previous high of 2,32,837 in January 2018. Sameep Singh Gumtala, FlyAmritsar Initiative convener and Amritsar Vikas Manch overseas secretary, said the airport had outclassed other international airports of the country.

“There is already a huge demand for direct flights to London, Toronto and Vancouver from Amritsar in the wake of 550th Guru Nanak Dev Gurpurab celebrations scheduled from November,” he said.

Many international airlines such as Turkish Airways, Oman Air, Fly Dubai were willing to start flights from Amritsar, but the Ministry of Civil Aviation was not too keen, he said.

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