From 1.5 lakh passengers during 2006-07 to 15 lakh to 2015-16, the Chandigarh airport has taken a giant leap. The increase in traffic over the years at the Chandigarh airport has also resulted in private airlines introducing more flights from the city.
According to the airport authorities, when the airport was started in 2006, only three flights were operating per day. “The number of flights operating now from the airport is 21 daily,” says an airport official, adding that more airlines have expressed their interest in starting flights from the airport.
Officials say one of the reasons for the increase in traffic is the availability of direct flights from Chandigarh to Mumbai. “Earlier it [direct flight] was not there and now people can go to Shimla after arriving at Chandigarh airport easily,” says Chandigarh international airport chief executive officer (CEO) Sunil Dutt. “We are expecting more traffic in future.”
According to official figures, there has been an exponential traffic growth of the Chandigarh airport in 10 years. During 2006-2007, the traffic was 1.54 lakh while for 2015-16, the number reached 15.34 lakh.
About the catchment area for the airport, the figures say it is 50 million people. “The maximum is from Punjab which is 29 million, followed by Himachal, parts of Haryana and other areas,” says an official.
Another airport official says, “Chandigarh is the main point which connects other north Indian states. All the people who want to travel to cities in Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal prefer this airport. The increase is there because over the years tourism and other activities in the northern states have increased.”
He adds, “For the people in cities like Bathinda, Shimla, Dehradun, the nearest airport is Chandigarh. This is one of the reasons for the increase in the traffic.”