Belagavi airport emerges as third-busiest in Karnataka

Belagavi airport beats Covid blues, emerges as third-busiest in Karnataka

Between Apirl-June 2021, the Belagavi airport witnessed 1,640 flights either taking off or landing

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo

The aviation sector in Karnataka continues to be grounded as the majority of the airports in the state have not even witnessed 50% of its pre-Covid era flight movement and passenger footfall. 

However, Belagavi’s Sambra Airport, which is Karnataka’s oldest airport, has emerged as the third busiest airport in Karnataka, beating the Covid-19 blues by drawing not only higher number of flights but also passengers compared to its pre-Covid (2019) figures. Ever since the airport was included under the Udan Regional Connectivity Scheme in 2019, the performance trajectory of the airport has been rising.

Between Apirl-June 2021, the Belagavi airport witnessed 1,640 flights either taking off or landing. In the same months of 2019, the airport had attended 730 flights. In terms of passengers, also the Belagavi airport has catered to 51,190 passengers between April-June 2021, as against 32,113 in 2019. Sambra happens to be among very few airports in the country which saw almost the same number of passengers (2.58 lakh in 2020-21) during the pandemic year as compared to 2.76 lakh passenger in pre-pandemic year of April 2019-March 20.  

Bengaluru International Airport in Devanahalli continues to be the busiest airport in the state followed by the Mangaluru international Airport at Bajpe. However, these airports also witnessed sharp fall in both flights and passengers.

Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), which handled 2.72 crore domestic and 45.78 lakh international passengers in 2019-20 had received only 1.04 crore domestic and 4.65 lakh international passengers in 2020-21. However, in the first three months of this business year starting from April, KIA handled only 1.18 lakh passengers (in 2019 same period it was 19.49 lakh).

Similarly, KIA has also handled fewer flights compared to its pre-Covid year. Till June this year it handled 3,186 international and 22,483 domestic flights. In 2019-20 it had handled two lakh domestic and 30,311 international flights as against 1.02 lakh domestic and 11, 192 international flights during the Covid affected year of 2020-21. 

Worst fall 

Hubballi, which had emerged as the third busiest airport in state in 2019, is slowly slipping out of the race as for the last two years its numbers are constantly falling. Between April-June 2021 the Hubballi airport has handled 928 flights and 27,352 passengers. However, in the same period in 2019 it had handled 1,958 flights and 1.50 lakh passengers. In fact in 2019-20 the airport had witnessed 4.75 lakh footfalls of passengers and 6,944 domestic flights taking off or landing. 

Speaking to DH, Hubballi Airport Director Pramod Kumar Thakre said not just Hubballi airport, aviation sector across India is in slump. Though the movement of flights was not restricted in the second wave of Covid, majority of aviation companies did not operate their flights. “Hubballi Airport has started operating 70% of its pre-Covid routes. However, we are not able to achieve 50% of pre-Covid year passenger footfall. One of the reason being the strict guidelines of compulsory RTPCR tests and other restrictions being imposed by a few states” he said.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox