New Delhi: Beating the odds despite an extended Covid-19 pandemic, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has emerged as the world’s second busiest airport in March 2022, data reveals.
This is in terms of total seat capacity and frequency of domestic and international flights, Official Airline Guide (OAG), a leading global travel data provider said on Monday. It surpassed China’s Guangzhou airport, which ranks fourth globally.
According to the list released by OAG this month, Delhi Airport (3,611,181 seats), which is India’s busiest airport, has knocked out Dubai International Airport (3,554,527 seats) to grab the second position. US’ Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) meanwhile has retained its top position (with 4,422,436 seats).
The last ranking issued in March for February 2022, Delhi was third after Atlanta and Dubai. Delhi IGIA made a quantum leap when compared with its position in April 2019. Before the pandemic, the airport ranked 23rd among the busiest airports in the world.
The rankings are based on scheduled capacity in the current month and compared to the equivalent month in 2019, pre-pandemic. The top 10 busiest airports in the world have been calculated using total domestic and international seat capacity and frequency of flights from a particular airport. “COVID pandemic had hit the world hard.
Travel restrictions had badly affected the travel and tourism sectors for two consecutive years. But now, with the rise in the number of vaccinated people across the world, governments are easing travel restrictions and slowly opening up their borders.
“India has last month opened its borders and allowed the entry of fully vaccinated international travelers into the country. These steps have largely helped the travel and tourism industry and given a much-needed boost to air travel,” CEO-DIAL Videh Kumar Jaipuriar said.
In CY 2021, Delhi airport handled about 31.65 million domestic passengers and 5.49 million international traffic. In 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic led to lockdowns around the world, the airport handled around 22.64 million domestic and 5.86 million international passengers. From March 2020, there was a ban on regular international commercial flight operations till March 2022.
During this period, international travel took place through bubble arrangements between India and other countries and Vande Bharat (repatriation) flights.