The footfall of domestic passengers at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad has drastically fallen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to less than a quarter of the usual figures. However, sources in GMR -- the company which oversees the airport operations, said that the numbers were rising, though gradually, while compared to May. Needless to say, all airports across the country have recorded a huge dip in air passengers due to the pandemic.
The airport, which used to have a footfall of around 50,000 to 55,000 domestic passengers each day, is only seeing around 13,000 passengers these days due to the fear of the pandemic. However, compared to the footfall of 3,000 recorded on May 25, the number of passengers who have been travelling has steadily increased.
The Hyderabad International Airport has also seen more than 3.5 times growth in daily Air Traffic Movement from around 40 domestic air traffic movements (arrivals and departures) during the first few weeks starting May 25 (the day of recommencement of domestic operations) to around 150+ domestic Air Traffic Movements in July, 2020.
The airport authorities are glad that the airport is also steadily gaining back its domestic connections across the country. The airport has re-connected with 47 destinations across the country, out of the 55 domestic destinations during pre-pandemic times. This corresponds to almost more than 85% reconnect.
In March, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the state was among the earliest governments to demand that the Centre ban all international flights coming to India, to keep the cases of COVID-19 in control.The state had also decided to quarantine all passengers (Indian and foreign nationals) returning from seven countries (China, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, France, Germany and Spain) in the third week of March itself.
Days later, the union government had banned the entry of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia, the European Union, European Free Trade Association, Turkey and the United Kingdom. This was followed by a ban on all domestic travel in the country.At present, Telangana has a total of 50,826 cases of COVID-19, of which 11,052 are active after 39,327 people were discharged after recovery and 447 people succumbed to the virus. The state has tested 3,22,326 samples as of July 23.
The RGIA meanwhile has taken several steps to ensure the safety of passengers. This includes a focus on a contactless boarding experience, besides measures like thermal scanning of every departing passenger, automatic hand sanitiser dispensers available at various places, floor markers, staggered seating arrangements to ensure compliance of physical distancing norms and minimise human contact.