The Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport) despite the challenging circumstances due to multiple Covid waves, has once again proven itself by recording its highest-ever cargo tonnage in Financial Year (FY) 2022.
BLR processed an all-time high tonnage for a fiscal year since Airport Opening Day (AOD) of 411,513 Metric Tonnes (MT) of cargo, recording a growth of 26% as against 326,643MT in FY 2021. International cargo at the airport recorded a 31% growth, 271,988MT processed, as compared to 207,518 MT in FY 2021. While the domestic cargo grew by 17%, with 139,525MT versus 119,125MT in FY 2021.
The major growth driver of the airport was Perishable cargo. BLR is the No.1 airport in the country for handling perishables — estimated to account for 31% of India’s total perishable shipments.
BLR Airport processed 39,518 MT of cargo in October 2021 — the highest ever for a month since AOD. International cargo processed (both imports and exports) was also the highest ever in October 2021, accounting for 25,695 MT. The Airport achieved a significant record by gaining 13% of India’s air cargo market share and 45% of South India’s air cargo market share. With this achievement, BLR Airport has become the only major airport in the country to show growth over pre-pandemic levels.
The rise in Passenger Traffic
The Passenger traffic at BLR continued to show recovery with over 45% growth in domestic travel and about 136% growth in international travel in FY 2022 as compared to FY 2021. The airport welcomed 16.28 million passengers in FY 2022 versus 10.91 million passengers in FY 2021. Traffic recovery was 54% of FY 2020 levels – domestic recovery was at 55%, while international passenger traffic recovery was at 24%.
“Our focus on driving operational efficiencies coupled with a resilient ecosystem has enabled us to end FY 2022 on a record high both in terms of cargo and passenger volumes. It reflects our commitment to serving the industry and our customers through sustained innovations and technological advancements,”Hari Marar, MD & CEO, Bangalore International Airport Limited.
Both the domestic and international sectors are seeing a revival of corporate traffic as restrictions across borders ease up. This is influenced by higher vaccination penetration, lower infection rates, relaxation of travel restrictions, cross-border regulations, and increased economic activities.
BLR airport now directly serves 76 domestic destinations as compared to 54 last year, and this has been possible due to enhanced connectivity to Tier II/III cities.
Share of non-metro traffic to/from BLR Airport has also increased from 45% pre-Covid (Apr’19-Feb’20) to 60% in FY 2022, signifying growing penetration of non-metro connectivity. As a result, the transfer traffic share at BLR Airport has increased to 18% in FY 2022, compared to 10% pre-covid. With this sustained growth, the Airport has established itself as the most preferred transit destination in South India.
Top domestic routes in FY 2022 were Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Goa, with these sectors contributing 40% to the traffic.
BLR Airport served 20 international destinations in FY 2022 with Dubai, Male, Doha, London, and Frankfurt being the top cities contributing 67% to the traffic. Growth in the international segment is expected to increase as more airlines reinstate operations to and from BLR Airport during the coming months.
Air Traffic Movements Showing Growth
Air Traffic Movements (ATM) at BLR Airport witnessed a recovery of 64% in FY 2022 compared to FY 2020. The domestic ATM recovery was at 66% while the international recovery was at 51%.
New International Routes
Scheduled international operations commenced effective 27 March 2022, and as a result, airlines have started reinstating their pre-Covid international network from BLR Airport. By Q2 of FY 23, airlines at BLR Airport are expected to serve most of their international pre-covid non-stop destinations.