Hubballi airport is the 3rd busiest in State

A file photo of Hubballi Airport

The Hubballi Airport on Gokul road is State’s third busiest airport after Bengaluru and Mangaluru international airports.

According to Indiastat.com which collects and categorises data from 32 socioeconomic categories from 29 State of India, Hubballi airport handled 1.73 lakh passengers from April 1 to September 30, 2018. As many as 2,923 flights either took-off or landed at the renovated airport of Hubballi during the same period.

Currently, Karnataka has six functioning airports, namely Kempegowda International Airport (Bengaluru), Mangaluru International Airport, Hubballi Domestic Airport, Vijayanagar Airport (near Hospet), Sambra Airport Belagavi and Mysuru Domestic Airport.

In September alone, Hubballi airport has handled 43,826 passenger and 682 flights. While this is a way higher than what the airport had handled during the same months last year. In September 2017, the Hubballi airport received only 146 flights with 3,679 passengers. Between April 2017 to September 2017, the Hubballi Airport had handled 15, 715 passengers and 396 flights. Compared to last year, there is an increase of 1005% in passengers movement from the Hubballi airport.

While the graph of Hubballi Airport is going north every passing day, yet it is far behind in comparison with the two international airports in State.

Between April 2018 and September 2018, the KIA, Bengaluru handled 1.61 crore passengers, including 21.49 lakh international flight passengers and 1.40 crore domestic passengers. Nearly 1.68 lakh flights landed and took off from the airstrip of Bengaluru.

Mangaluru airport also saw 12.35 lakh passengers either arriving or departing from here. While the airport handled 8.42 lakh domestic passengers, it's international passengers, mostly from Dubai, stood at 3.92 lakh.

The residents of Mumbai, Karnataka can be happier that the Hubballi airport is far ahead of Mysuru domestic airport. The Cultural capital of Karnataka Mysuru received only 60 flights in September 2018 and handled only 3,350 passengers. Whereas Vijayanagar airport saw 120 flights trip in September 2018 and 6,637 used the service the airport near Hosapete during the same period.

Dharwad MP Pralhad Joshi, in his Facebook post, gives credit to increase in the traffic at Hubballi airport to the Union government’s Udan Scheme. Currently, Hubballi airport is handling 11 flights and 22 movements daily, while on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday it handles 13 flights and 26 movements. Almost all the flights are seeing at least 85% occupancy.

Sources in Hubballi Airport said that the number of passengers would increase further once the direct flight to New Delhi commence. “We are hopeful that the Star Airways will start the service at the earliest. So far we have not received any information regarding this,” said Hubballi Airport Director S K Ahilya. She also added that as of now there is no proposal for making Hubballi an international airport.

Belagavi’s loss

Hubballi’s Udan gain was Belagavi’s loss. The military base airport at Sambra near Belagavi city used to earlier host domestic flights. However, after Hubballi was selected under the Udan scheme, few of Belagavi’s domestic flights were shifted to neighbouring airport: Hubballi.

While all other airports saw a rise in passengers and flight traffic, Belagavi saw a dip. In September 2018, it served only 4961 passengers against 8536 passengers in 2017. The number of flights also fell from 130 in September 2017 to just 60 this year. Between the months of April and September 2018, 736 flights brought 44,128 passengers, while in the same period in 2017, 52,867 passengers used the Belagavi airport.

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