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Indian airports report Rs 7,000 cr loss in FY 21, 63% fall in passenger traffic, report finds

Mumbai loses second busiest airport title to Bengaluru, overall domestic traffic in India drops by 61.8% and international traffic by 84.8%, the lowest in almost 30 years, CAPA India report says.

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New Delhi: India’s airport operators have incurred losses worth Rs 7,000 crore in FY 2021. In comparison, they made profits worth Rs 5,160 crore in FY 2020, a report by CAPA India has revealed. Titled ‘India Airports Review FY2021’, the report also underlined how total passenger traffic fell by 63 per cent to 115 million passengers, a figure last achieved in 2008.

The combined operating revenue of airports dropped by 64.1 per cent to Rs 83.1 billion (Rs 8,310 crore).

“The AAI (Airports Authority of India) accounted for 69 per cent of these losses and PPP (public-private partnership) operators 31 per cent. Total cash burn for the year reached Rs 135.9 billion (Rs 13,590 crore),” the report said.

CAPA India is an aviation consultancy firm and has several leading airport operators and airlines as its clients.

According to data shared by V.K. Singh, Minister of State Civil Aviation, in Parliament last week, India’s airports are set to continue incurring losses as the coronavirus pandemic is yet to subside. A majority — 107 out of 136 — of airports owned by AAI have incurred losses, while 91 of these airports have reported total losses worth Rs 1,368.82 crore. In FY19, 101 of the AAI-operated airports incurred losses amounting to Rs 1,668.69 crore.

Domestic traffic declined by 61.8 per cent to 105 million passengers, but it was international traffic that felt a much bigger blow — declining by 84.8 per cent to just 10.1 million passengers, the lowest level in almost 30 years, the CAPA report noted.

Currently, scheduled international flights are still banned from India and travel is only permitted through air bubble arrangements. As of now, India has this agreement with Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Ukraine, UAE, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uzbekistan.

Decline in passenger traffic

The report also stated that passenger traffic could have been 7-10 million higher than the current figures had it not been for frequent regulation changes made by several state governments.

“This was particularly the case in Maharashtra, where it is estimated Mumbai Airport alone may have lost 3.5-4.5 million passengers as a result. Among the metro airports, Mumbai experienced the steepest decline in total traffic,” it added.

Mumbai airport was the worst hit among metros and recorded a 75.9 per cent decline in passenger traffic and a loss of Rs 317.41 crore. Chennai airport came next with a 75.3 per cent decline in passenger traffic. In comparison, Delhi witnessed a 66.4 per cent decline and a loss of Rs 317.41 crore, Bengaluru a 66.3 per cent decline, Hyderabad a 63.4 per cent decline and Kolkata a 64.9 per cent decline and a loss of Rs 31.04 crore.

“Due to restrictions related to the pandemic in Maharashtra, Bangalore (Bengaluru) overtook Mumbai for the very first time to emerge as the second busiest domestic airport in India in FY21, behind Delhi,” the report said.

According to data shared in Parliament, Pune airport was the only one to report profits in 2021, worth Rs 16.09 crore.

“We expect to see rising confidence and continued traffic recovery in the second half of this financial year,” the report notes, underlining that it has not taken into account a possible third wave of coronavirus and the potential impact that could have on the aviation sector.

(Edited by Neha Mahajan)

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