It has been more than a year since COVID-19 struck, and like other sectors, civil aviation suffered a big blow. In February last year, the Chennai airport used to have nearly 250 departures and arrivals every day. But now, the air traffic has come down by 50%.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials said that on average, 21,000-22,000 passengers travelled every day. “Both passenger traffic and the number of flights we handle have been stagnant for a while now. But this is expected during March and April. Owing to examinations and other factors, the traffic doesn’t go up at all during these months,” an official said.
The officials said that with the rising number of COVID-19 cases and with States such as Karnataka and Maharashtra clamping restrictions, not many want to take up travel at this point in time. “Though there is no surge, there has been no great drop in the traffic now. We feel this will continue for some time till the COVID-19 situation improves,” another official said.
Last year, the State government issued restrictions on the number of flights that could be operated at the Chennai airport, and that was increased from time to time.
A few months ago, the restriction was lifted and the AAI was allowed to operate any number of flights as earlier. “Even then, we can’t increase the number of flights because there is not much demand. When airlines seek an increase, we will not hold back and will allow them to operate,” the official added.