B’lore Airport outperforms in CY2022, witnesses impressive growth in cargo & passenger

The Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru (KIAB or BLR Airport) recorded an impressive passenger numbers recovery of 82% since CY 2019 (pre-Covid year), with a total of 27.50M passengers travelling through BLR Airport in CY 2022. This included 85% recovery in the domestic (DOM) sector and 65% recovery in the international (INT) sector.

Several reasons including relaunching of key routes and introduction of new routes connecting leading business hubs and travel destinations contributed to the rapid recovery. 24.36M domestic passengers and 3.14M international passengers travelled through BLR Airport. The month of December recorded significant numbers.

Year-end Boost

A key observation was the sharp increase in passenger numbers during the year-end holiday season. 3.13 million passengers travelled in December 2022 (of which, 2.74 million were DOM passengers) – surpassing the pre-Covid record of 3.06 million passengers in December 2019. On December 23, BLR Airport recorded the highest number of passengers for CY 2022 at 1,07,825 pax. 

There was an impressive 98% recovery in air transport movements (ATMs) vis-à-vis pre-Covid numbers, and DOM ATMs witnessed a 100% recovery.  Overall, the domestic front has contributed significantly to the speedy recovery.

Major expansion

After the two challenging years of the pandemic, most airlines resumed their operations fully, connecting to increased number of destinations in 2022. BLR Airport is now connected to 75 destinations across India, and an increase of 16 destinations, compared to pre-Covid. Akasa Airlines’ remarkable growth has been one of the success stories of 2022, with the airline basing a large part of their fleet at BLR Airport and growing to 30 daily departures to 11 destinations within six months of their commencement.

Post-resumption of scheduled international operations in March 2022, the introduction of the direct route between Bengaluru and Sydney (four weekly flights) by Qantas Airways, making it the first direct connectivity to Australia from South India, was one of the highlights. This was followed by Emirates launching A380 service to Dubai, citing increased demand from BLR and South India. Further, Air India’s reinstation of its thrice-weekly Bengaluru – San Francisco route in Dec’22, making BLR Airport the 1st airport in South and Central India to get direct connectivity to North America, was further proof of the strength of the BLR Market.  Other international airlines also resumed their flights to most major pre-Covid destinations in 2022.

Transfer Hub

BLR Airport is a preferred hub for transfer passengers due to its regional connectivity and this has further helped in recovery of its passenger numbers. With over 100 daily departures, the share of transfer passengers increased to 15% (+5% compared to pre-Covid years). This strengthened BLR Airport’s position as the preferred transfer / transit airport in South and Central India.

Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi, and Hyderabad were the top domestic routes in CY 2022, contributing approximately 40% to DOM traffic. Dubai, Male, Singapore, Doha, and Abu Dhabi were the top international routes contributing approximately 47% to INT traffic for BLR Airport.

“The Covid years were very challenging for us but despite that, we are encouraged by the steady recovery in passenger traffic. Passenger comfort and seamless travel continue to be a priority and in addition to this, our cargo partnerships have contributed to our business growth. CY2022 also marks a significant milestone for us as we have significantly increased our operational capacity with the inauguration of the new Terminal 2 (T2) at BLR Airport. We believe that with the operationalisation of T2, we will be even better positioned to serve as the natural gateway to South and Central India,” said Satyaki Raghunath, Chief Strategy & Development Officer of Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL).

Cargo Growth

BLR Cargo also scripted success with its overall numbers. For the second year in a row, BLR Airport stood as the No.1 airport for perishables in India and is now identified as the third busiest airport processing international cargo in India. BLR Airport is South India’s sole airport and India’s second airport to have freighters of three of the world’s largest express players, namely UPS, DHL, and FedEx.

With 14 domestic and foreign cargo carriers operating 41 direct routes, BLR Cargo is consolidating BLR Airport’s place among the top cargo airports in the country.

Cargo volumes in CY 2022 were 412,668 MT, the highest tonnage handled since Airport Opening Day (AOD) and the highest import tonnage was recorded in the month of July. Domestic cargo recorded an increase of 8% in CY 2022. The highest cargo recorded for the year in a single day was 1,612 MT on September 29, 2022.

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