Airport feels slowdown pinch,footfalls take a dip

With the country’s struggling aviation industry hitting a bad patch due to the slowdown,the Mumbai International Airport Limited...

Written by Shashank Shekhar | Mumbai | Published:February 22, 2009 2:28 am

With the country’s struggling aviation industry hitting a bad patch due to the slowdown,the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL),where construction of the new terminal was flagged off on Friday,is seeking government intervention.

Its is seeking to impose a development fee on passenger movements on account of a shortfall of Rs 2,000 crore in raising capital for the project. One of the reasons for the shortfall is a dip in MIAL’s internal accrual figures (from airport traffic),according to MIAL. The Mumbai airport has reported a steep fall in passenger movement for the current financial year till January 2009 and expects an overall decline of about 12 % for financial year 2008-09. According to figures obtained by Newsline,passenger movement figures for months April ’08 to January’09 are 19.7 million which is considerably lower than the 21.5 million passenger footfalls recorded for the same months for 2007-08. A spokesperson from the GVK-led private consortium said that because of the low figures for the current fiscal,MIAL expects total passenger movement figures to just fall by 12%.

Last year,the country’s busiest airport recorded passenger 25.08 million footfalls compared to 23.9 million at Delhi airport,the country’s second busiest airport. The final figures this year at the Mumbai airport,according to estimates,will even fall below 2006-07 figures that stood at 22.5 million. Although these figures can be attributed to the current markets gloom,the Mumbai airport is all set to lose the top spot in terms of passenger movement by 2010 to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI),which is also operated by the GMR-led private consortium.

Projected traffic figures for the Mumbai airport for year 2010 stands at 27.5 million as compared to Delhi’s 28.7 million. “Mumbai will be losing out on a lot of international traffic as south-bound traffic will be absorbed by the new airports of Hyderabad and Bangalore,” said a senior MIAL official. But with the new passenger terminal,where construction began yesterday,the airport will be geared to accommodate 40 million passengers.

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