Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri expects domestic air passenger volumes to return to pre-COVID levels between October and the end of 2020, based on the quick increase in the number of passengers observed since domestic airlines restarted flight operations.
He said the daily domestic traffic has reached 1.76 lakh passengers from 30,000 passengers when the civil aviation operations resumed on May 25 following a two-month gap due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Puri earlier expressed optimism at the revival of the domestic aviation industry, saying that demand has been consistent and that it has been moving to pre-COVID levels previously.
There were more than 3 lakh daily domestic passengers in 2019.
“On May 25, we resumed civil aviation operations and at that time, there were around 30,000 passengers. Today, I received data as per which there were 1.76 lakh passengers yesterday. We are going to achieve almost the pre-COVID level during the period between Diwali and the end of this year,” new agency PTI quoted Puri as saying while speaking at an event at Chandigarh International Airport.
He also said a meeting of airlines, the Airport Authority of India and other stakeholders would be called to discuss how more flights could be introduced from Chandigarh city.
Puri inaugurated two passenger boarding bridges (PBB) at the Chandigarh International Airport.
Costing Rs 10.5 crore, the tunnel of these passenger boarding bridges were manufactured at Bengaluru, said an official release.
With this, the number of bridges at the airport reached five.
Ajay Kumar, the CEO of Chandigarh International Airport Limited said the PBBs are now available for passengers and almost 90 per cent of the total passenger traffic shall be making use of it.
(With inputs from Money Control and PTI)