By Japan K Pathak
Ahmedabad airport is now India’s 8th busiest international airport – down from earlier 7th position which is now occupied by Cochin airport.
This has been revealed in figures available from minister’s answer in parliament recently.
Fresh figures suggest that Ahmedabad airport is less busier than the airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Calcutta, Hyderabad and Cochin. While Cochin has stepped ahead in this ranking, Ahmedabad is one step down. Gauhati and Thiruvananthpuram follows Ahmedabad in busiest airport data. This data includes all landings and take offs of domestic, international, general aviation and private chartered flights.
Among all international airports of India, Delhi airport is busiest with average 741 movements per day between April-December 2010. Delhi is followed by Mumbai airport with 695 movements. Chennai, Bangalore, Calcutta, Hyderabad had 316, 304, 259 and 229 average daily movements respectively in same period.
Figure of Ahmedabad airport’s daily average movement is 106 which is less than half compare to similar size of cities such as Hyderabad and Bangalore. Even Cochin has higher number of movements(112) compare to Ahmedabad.
It should be mentioned that the figure of aviation movements on any given airport shows city’s connection with the world outside. While Hyderabad and Bangalore were once far behind the city of Ahmedabad, today they enjoy greater connectivity with the world through air-route, perhaps due to development of information technology industry there. While Hyderabad airport is double busier than Ahmedabad, the airport in Bangalore is three time more busier than Ahmedabad.
One of the reasons behind Ahmedabad airport’s somewhat boring situation is that entire south Gujarat prefers to go to the Mumbai airport due to lesser distance. Another thing is that Gujarati people still prefer to travel by train. While Bangalore and Hyderabad get daily international traffic throughout the year due to I.T. industry, Ahmedabad gets prominent foreign traffic just in winter due to NRI Gujaratis.
While Ahmedabad airport witnessed daily average 17 international movements, in same period Cochin’s figure was 51(three times more), Hyderabad(38), Calicut(38), Bangalore(42) and Trivendrum(46). Considering the international traffic, Ahmedabad’s 10th busiest airport in India and even Calicut and Trivendrum are ahead. In domestic sector, Ahmedabad is 7th busiest airport with 75 movements.
In backdrop of these figures, the state government’s decision to develop a green-field international airport at Dholera creates doubt that whether it is a fisible project or not! Ahmedabad’s new international terminal is just minorly utilized presently, and it has been constructed citing the traffic of future. In such scenario the state government wants to develop new international airport at Dholera which is 80 km away from Ahmedabad. Insiders say ‘Dholera airport’ project is nothing but a tool to increase land prices in southern part of Ahmedabad district where politicians have cornered huge land.
AVERAGE NUMBER OF FLIGHTS HANDLED PER DAY AT INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORTS (April-December 2010) (in Nos.)
* Aircraft movements include both landing & take off.