CHENNAI: While everyone’s talking about how the “bigger and better” new airport terminals here would help handle the burgeoning air traffic, it comes as a shocker that the annual growth rate of passenger traffic in 2011-12 has taken a steep dip. According to a traffic trend report made available by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) here, compared to the growth rate of 14.4 per cent passenger traffic in 2010-11, this year’s growth rate of 7.3 per cent has been “flat”, as one official put it.
Even Airport Director EP Hareendranathan had to admit that the number of people flying in and out of Chennai last financial year had been on the “lower side”.
This has caused some worry amongst stakeholders, given the scale of investments that have been made towards machines, airport infrastructure, technology, operations and maintenance. “Last year, we had to deny some slots to airlines as we were unable to accommodate them with the existing terminal. But even without that, the normal traffic growth that we have been seeing in the last decade was not present,” he added.
While the domestic air traffic has shown a decent growth, the international traffic numbers were nothing short of depressing.