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Kerala airports beat Kolkata in intl traffic

Ashwini Phadnis
K.R. Srivats

NEW DELHI, May 11

THE decision of the Union Government to accord international status to the Thiruvananthapuram, Calicut and Cochin airports in Kerala has helped the State corner close to 5 per cent of the entire international passenger traffic in the country. This is compared to only around 1 per cent international traffic through Kolkata airport.

Data made available by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) shows that the cumulative number of international passengers travelling from the three airports in Kerala is far more than those travelling out of Kolkata airport. Incidentally, data for 1998-99 shows that Mumbai was the leading airport in international passenger traffic that year, followed by Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore.

The provisional figures for 2001-02 show that more than 7.35 lakh international passengers used Thiruvananthapuram airport as compared to only 5.90 lakh international passengers going through Kolkata airport.

Similarly, the total number of international passengers using Calicut airport were put at more than 3.29 lakh. In the case of Cochin airport, around 4.19 lakh international passengers passed through.

However, in terms of the number of international aircraft movements, the figures show that Kolkata airport, at 6,336 aircraft, was ahead of each of the three airports in Kerala. International aircraft movements numbering 5,486 were reported from Thiruvananthapuram airport.

Interestingly, international aircraft movement at Cochin airport increased dramatically from 1,273 during 1999-2000 to touch 4,319 in 2001-02.

However, the movement of international aircraft at Kolkata airport over the past three years actually declined from 6,580 in 1999-2000 to 6,336 during 2001-02.

At least 12 international airlines including British Airways, Air India, KLM, Singapore Airlines, Thai International and Royal Jordanian operate regular flights to and from Kolkata airport.

Against this, eight international airlines including Kuwait Airways, Gulf Air, Sri Lankan, Qatar Airways, apart from Air India and Indian Airlines, operate regular services from and to Thiruvananthapuram airport.

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