Consistency in operations is perhaps the single most important challenge being faced by the airport. Airlines need to understand that the traffic growth will happen gradually and only when airlines continue to serve the sector for some time, says Manoj Chansoria, Airport Director, Amritsar, Airports Authority of India in an exclusive interview with Priya Yadav of Elets News Network (ENN).
What is the air connectivity at Amritsar Airport currently?
At present Amritsar airport handles 44 to 46 movements daily with an average foot fall of 6600 passengers. The airport connects to six domestic and six international destinations. In domestic sector the maximum number flights are operated to and from Delhi, whereas in international we connect to Dubai thrice daily. New connections in the offering are direct flight to Sharjah, while in domestic sector we expect flights to Patna soon.
How has the airport at Amritsar grown in the past decade with regard to passengers and cargo?
The graphical representation of the growth of Amritsar Airport over the years is as below.
What are the challenges being faced by the airport in its strides towards growth?
Consistency in operations is perhaps the single most important challenge being faced by the airport. Airlines need to understand that the traffic growth will happen gradually and only when airlines continue to serve the sector for some time. In the recent past, Airlines have stopped operations to new destinations like Goa, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. Some of these destinations are having high demand, but the abrupt withdrawal has left the passengers high and dry.
On the cargo front, Amritsar Airport has a fully functional International Cargo complex, and we are also constructing a Domestic Cargo terminal separately. We have been engaging with various operators for starting dedicated cargo flights, but with little success so far.
Space constraint on the city side is also a challenge being faced by the airport; steps are being taken to create more vehicular lanes for decongesting the area
What are the future plans for the airport in terms of expansion?
The first floor area in the terminal building has been recently developed and put to use, given the changing profile of the travelling public, facilities for retail shopping and also F&B are being created. The present capacity of the terminal building is 4MPPA in the year 2018-19 the airport saw 2.6 Million passengers and given the present growth trend the airport will be reaching its capacity by 2024, as such work on the expansion of terminal building has started, it is proposed to expand the existing building to create a additional capacity of 2MPPA.
Commensurate to the building capacity, the aircraft parking capacity is also being increased to 24 from the present 14; this work is already in progress and expected to be completed by April 2020.