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Spreading wings: Delhi airport expects more business, footfall in coming months

The upcoming festive season might trigger a revival in business and ‘Visiting Family & Relatives' (VFR) travel segments, the top executive of Delhi International Airport Ltd (Dial), the firm that operates the national capital's IGI Airport, said.

Accordingly, DIAL has conducted internal surveys and analysis, which show that "passengers traveling through the airport, or planning to travel through IGIA", have expressed high confidence in opting for air travel in the next few months.

"A large proportion of these people are from Business travel segment but even the VFR and ‘Leisure' segment have shown inclination to travel," Dial CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar told IANS.

"In the next few months, we expect some revival in the VFR segment which will boost passenger numbers, with ‘Leisure' travel likely to pick up during the third quarter of the financial year."

According to Jaipuriar, the airport also expects air bubble agreements to push international traffic growth higher on a sequential basis.

"We understand that the government has been working aggressively in developing bubble airport connections and have had discussions with various stakeholders including airports," Jaipuriar said.

"We are hoping to see incremental international traffic to and from European destinations, UAE and the US as a result of this."

In aviation parlance, 'air bubble' travel arrangements are established between two countries under a certain set of safety and passenger travelling conditions such as high demand, legal entry and exit norms and airlines' willingness to operate on these sectors.

Besides, he pointed out the airport has recorded a steep increase in its passenger share post lockdown.

"Since the resumption of domestic flights, Delhi Airport served 23 per cent of the total passengers handled by all Indian airports, a rise from 18 per cent in pre-Covid time," he said.

"This is the highest passenger share handled by any Indian airport post resumption of airport operations."

In terms of the cargo segment, Jaipuriar said the airport "is fully ready to handle the temperature controlled medical cargo" (vaccines) in the most efficient manner.

Worldwide preparations are being made to ease the movement of an effective anti-Covid-19 vaccine as and when it is approved by WHO.

"The airport has three operational runways. With the construction of 3 additional freighter parking bays, the total number of freighter bays at Delhi Airport has gone up to 12, the largest in the country thereby offering all the required airside infrastructure," Jaipuriar added.

"Our cargo facilities are also equipped to quickly introduce any new measures to suit the requirements for express and specialised handling of medical cargo as and when the market demands."

The Centre has designated Delhi International Airport as "Major Hub for Import and distribution of Covid-19-related medical essentials".

The airport has handled over 6,000 freighter movements since the lockdown..