The Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru witnessed its highest-ever domestic outbound tonnage of 8,117 tonnes in October, largely driven by e-commerce shipments. Overall, the airport processed 34,339 tonnes of cargo in October, recording a 26-month high in tonnage. This, at a time when international air travel remains restricted to only Union government regulated bio bubbles and domestic passengership slowly recovering since the COVID-19 induced lockdown. Between April and October, the footfall in the airport had reduced to 35,47,644 from 1,93,06,980 in April-October 2019 due to the pandemic. Domestic operations resumed on May 25.
Bangalore International Airport Limited, which manages the airport, said that perishable commodities, which have been the major growth driver for cargoes in the current financial year 2020-21, continued to be the top international commodity, accounting for 12% of total exports in October. Doha emerged as the top destination in October, with 1,095 MT.
With this, the airport also became the first airport in India to record positive growth in September, a trend which continued in October as well, registering a 0.1 % increase against October 2019, BIAL said in a statement.
The record single-day Air Traffic Movement (ATM) was 52 ATMs on October 22, with the day witnessing a volume of 1,359 metric tonnes of cargo. In October, BIAL had said that cargo volumes were gathering momentum with international cargo leading the recovery, following a prolonged slump due to the pandemic. Airport authorities said that international cargo volumes were recovering at a higher rate than that of domestic.
While September witnessed a 4.5% growth in international cargo, of which export cargo grew by 7.6%, domestic cargo is showing a slower recovery as it is 5.2% lower than the same period in the previous year. With the onset of the pandemic and resultant low ridership, the airport had shifted its focus towards becoming a successful cargo hub.