CHENNAI: Air passenger traffic in 2011-12 in the city has taken a steep dip, despite the city’s new, bigger airport terminal. While the domestic air traffic, aided by low-cost flights and airlines undercutting each other, has shown a decent growth of 10.4 per cent compared to the massive 17 per cent registered in 2010-11, the international traffic numbers were nothing short of depressing. Where there was a healthy growth rate of 10-14 per cent in 2008-11, last fiscal year, the rise has been a paltry 1.5 per cent. This was despite the fact that 1,324 more international flights operated.
Travel operators believe that this dip is due to decline in business travellers ever since the recession hit. “Most of our large clients have cancelled their corporate accounts,” said Adam, who works with an international travel management firm. The move to the more spacious new terminals will definitely bode well for air traffic, felt Airport Director EP Hareendranathan.
“Better amenities, more routes and a better airport experience will surely help,” he said. Last year, the airport handled 12.9 million passengers, while the new terminals are capable of handling 14 million passengers. Whether the traffic will grow to
the 17 million mark, which the AAI Chairman VP Agrawal predicted, remains to be seen.