Scenes of protest from international passengers against being placed under quarantine to curb the spread of Covid-19 virus were witnessed at the Delhi Airport recently. However, sources claim that the situation was later resolved.. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Nov 25 : Rising passenger traffic along with more domestic flights has triggered an accelerated operational revival of the national capital's IGI Airport.

Having been the pivotal logistics hub during the lockdown days, the airport is now handling around 60 per ent of domestic flight movements during the pre-Covid era.

"Delhi Airport has witnessed a steady growth in passenger as well as air traffic numbers, since domestic flight operations resumed on May 25, 2020 after remaining suspended for two months due to Covid," Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar told IANS.

At present, the airport is handling around 600 air traffic movements, which is close to 60 per cent of pre-Covid levels and on an average over 70,000 domestic passengers daily.

Besides, the airport is now connected to 70 domestic destinations as compared to pre-Covid numbers of 73 destinations.

Domestic flight services had resumed on May 25, after many anxious moments and exactly two months after they were suspended due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Nevertheless, challenges such as new state specific flight acceptance and quarantine norms along with a limited initial flight deployment capacity hampered growth.

But now, easing travel restrictions, and initial revival in business sentiment has triggered the growth cycle of the industry.

Last month, India's domestic air passenger traffic grew on a sequential basis to 52.71 lakh from 39.43 lakh, who were ferried during September.

However, in October 2019, this figure stood at 1.23 crore.

Recently, Centre has allowed domestic airlines to deploy up to 70 per cent of their flight capacity from an earlier 60 per cent.

In June, the capacity was raised to 45 per cent from an initial 33 per cent.

Furthermore, citing new services introduced by DIAL, Jaipuriar pointed out that a Covid-19 test facility for both arriving and departing passengers have been commenced at the airport complex.

Accordingly, the testing facility can be used by both domestic and international passengers.

In September, DIAL had launched an on-site Covid-19 testing facility for arriving international passenger.

On airport infra expansion, he said that DIAL has launched a 'General Aviation Terminal' for business and leisure travellers.

"It would cater to the growing passenger traffic when the aviation sector returns to pre-Covid times and make their travel experience more convenient and comfortable," Jaipuriar said.

The new terminal houses passenger lounges, retail and F&B sections, 24x7 personal concierge services, common processing area with Customs and Immigrations and immediate access to General Aviation aircraft stands.

The GA Terminal can handle around 50 passengers every hour.

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at rohit.v@ians.in)

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