Though international passenger traffic saw an increase of 4.8% this summer, Mumbai—the financial capital of India—stood third from the bottom of the ratings chart in terms of passenger growth.
In contrast, Tier II cities like Guwahati, Cochin, Coimbatore and Lucknow lead the growth, according to data released by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for the period of April-May, 2012.
A total of 6.90 million international passengers were recorded during the same period. AAI owns most of the major airports in India, except for a few which are in joint ventures with private players.
The AAI attributed the increase in international passengers at Tier II cities to increase in the frequency of existing services by airlines and the start of the operations by new airlines.
Guwahati, the capital of Assam, which is considered to be the largest metropolitan area among the north-eastern states, saw the highest growth, with an increase of 19.8%, followed by Coimbatore with 13.9%, Cochin with 13.5% and Lucknow with 11.3% growth.
In contrast, Mumbai saw a growth of just 5.1%. The airports of other metros such as Chennai and Delhi saw lesser growth in international passenger traffic than Mumbai, the report claims.
The experts claim that Tier II cities are slowly but gradually seeing an increase in the air traffic as more and more airlines are starting services from there, giving a boost to the region. However, the slow growth reported at three of the metro airports in no way indicates that more international passengers are moving to Tier II city airports.
“Metro airports, including Mumbai, already have a huge base of international passengers, and therefore win by sheer volume” says an AAI official.