Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL)has retained its position as the 3rd busiest airport in India throughout 2021 owing to its fervent efforts which assured a smooth traffic and enhanced connectivity during the time of the pandemic. As per the latest statistics released by Airport Authority of India, CIAL stands at third position in country in terms of international traffic in December too, a feat it has been enjoying since the beginning of the previous year.
As per the AAI data on international traffic for the month of December 2021, Delhi Airport topped the list with 8,42,582 passengers and Mumbai airport retained its second spot with 4,51,212. CIAL registered 301,338 international passengers, during December 2021 whereas Chennai Airport which is at the fourth position handled 2,46,387 international passengers. CIAL handled a total of 43,06,661 passengers during the whole year of 2021. Of that, 18,69,690 were international passengers. CIAL’s passenger volume has almost increased by a million in 2021 when compared to that of 2020 .
CIAL managing director S .Suhas IAS attributed the traffic growth to the proactive measures taken by the management to attract more airlines. “Hon Chairman Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan and board of directors have been consistently put their effort to re-establish air connectivity to Kochi from all international travel hubs during the time of the pandemic. “Despite the spike in Covid cases, CIAL has successfully managed to facilitate a smooth traffic. A slew of measures was implemented to instil the confidence in both passengers and other stakeholders. The year 2021 witnessed the resumption of direct services to UK by Air India.
Singapore Airlines started operation in December 2021 and we hope that we can host services in Kochi-Bangkok sector soon ’’: said Suhas.
Indian airports overall catered to a total of 25.12 million passengers in December 2021, compared to 23.23 million passengers in November. There were 19.64 million passengers in October, compared to 15.44 million in September and 14.26 million in August 2021.However, the growth in air passenger traffic has seen a slowdown since December-end because of the third wave of the covid-19 pandemic, with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus. The country recorded 22.13 million domestic passengers in December, up from 20.72 million in November, while international passengers rose from 2.51 million to 2.99 million in the same period.
CIAL’s timely response to the UAE’s supreme council of disaster management’s guidelines helped the airport to host the UAE services from July itself. Subsequently CIAL ramped up both rapid PCR and RTPCR testing and now the cumulative capacity of the three testing labs stationed at the airport enhanced to 900 at a time. Domestic sector witnessed a growth at par with pre pandemic period. As per the winter schedule which came effective from October 2021 scheduled 50 departures a day.