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Flight cancelled: Air travel shrinks this year, but not due to economic slowdown; minister tells why

Mangalore and Trivandrum are the two airports that have seen the steepest contraction.

The closure of Jet Airways, world-wide grounding of Boeing 737 Max and the global slowdown have hit the Indian aviation market, lowering the number of passengers travelling by flights this year. In the first ten months of the current financial year, the number of passengers travelling via major airports of India has contracted on-year. On top of that, the volume of freight handled by airlines has also contracted, according to the data provided by Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS, Minister of Civil Aviation, in a reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today. Mangalore and Trivandrum are the two airports that have seen the steepest contraction.

The number of passengers travelling via major airports has contracted by 0.9 per cent and the volume of freight carried via these airports has contracted by 5.1 per cent during April-October 2019.

“There have only been 3% expansion in domestics air travel capacity on-year, which has also limited the growth of the Indian aviation industry, Balu Ramachandran, Senior VP, Cleartrip, had earlier told Financial Express Online. To boost the sector and to mitigate the impact of the reduction in capacity, the domestic slots vacated by Jet Airways have been allocated to other Indian carriers on an ad-hoc basis, which will help to augment the present capacity. 

Also Read: Air travel growth dives to one-tenth: Economic slowdown not to blame; here’s the REAL reason

The UDAN scheme is also likely to stimulate regional air connectivity and to make air travel affordable to the masses, Hardeep Singh Puri further highlighted. The government has also taken steps in expansion, up-gradation and creation of infrastructure for cargo with modern technology.

Meanwhile, there has been significant growth among the passengers travelling from some of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities during this time. While the passenger traffic from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai airports contracted by 4.1 per cent, 6.5 per cent, and 0.1 per cent respectively, the same from Bagdogra, Nagpur, Ranchi and Chandigarh expanded by 18.5 per cent, 16.9 per cent, 14.9 per cent and 14.6 per cent respectively. 

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Source: Financial Express