Thursday, March 3, 2016

Comparative analysis of Bengaluru and Chennai Airport's passenger traffics

by Soumen Mukherjee


If we look at the top 10 busiest airports in India while Delhi and Mumbai are settled for the first and second position respectively for a quite a long time, competition can be seen between Bengaluru and Chennai for the third position. Until 2014 Chennai used to be at number 3 when Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru replaced it and became the third busiest Indian airport and the busiest airport in the South India. However a huge gap remains between Mumbai (second) and Bengaluru (third) airport's passenger volumes. Now if we look at the CY2015 ranking of top 10 airports (see above chart) and their passenger growth rates while all airports had recorded double digit growth rate, Chennai was the only one to grow at below 10% rate.
 While in FY2015 the gap between Bengaluru and Chennai airport's annual passengers volume was small (BLR: 14.29 mil & MAA: 15.40 mil), the gap widens in FY2016 (Apr-Dec 2015). Here we will analyse the performance of Chennai Airport's passenger data in comparison to that of Bengaluru Airport.

At first instance the not so good performance of Chennai Airport in 2015 can be attributed to the fact that the airport had to close all its operation for around a week in early December 2015 due to massive floods in Chennai. But detailed study of monthly passengers of both Bengaluru and Chennai airports shows not just in December 2015 but for the entire year Chennai Airport's monthly passenger volume is lagging behind that of Bengaluru Airport. In fact the gap between these two gradually increases during the course of 2015 while in January 2015 the monthly passenger figures of the two airports were almost comparable, by November 2015 the difference between the two becomes wide even if we exclude December 2015 as a special case.

While Chennai Airport is operated by the state owned Airport Authority of India (AAI), Bengaluru Airport run by GVK led consortium called Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) which also includes AAI as stake holder. Kempegowda International Airport being a PPP airport has the flexibility to offer incentives to attract airlines. For example AirAsia India had initially chosen Chennai Airport as its hub before launching its operations in June 2014, it finally went on to make Bengaluru Airport its primary hub. If we compare their future expansion plans too while Bengaluru has already started the construction work of its second runway and almost finalises plans for a second terminal both of which expected to be commissioned by 2021, Chennai Airport has opted for a lengthy makeover of its passenger amenities at the existing terminal facility, therefore no major increase in its annual passengers capacity.

International Passenger

While Chennai Airport traditionally performs much better in terms of international passenger volume than Bengaluru. However if we carefully observe the data, Bengaluru is narrowing down the gap by growing at almost double rate of Chennai on an average. And in December 2015, Bengaluru for the first time surpassed Chennai Airport in terms of monthly international passenger traffic. But that remains an exception as during that time Chennai Airport was unable to operate flight service for almost a week. But more recent data shows the gap between Chennai and Bengaluru airport's monthly international passengers narrows down significantly. For example the full month data in January 2016 shows 4,58,063 international passengers in Chennai Airport compared to 3,15,662 in Bengaluru Airport. 

In the past one year several new foreign airlines had started their service from Bengaluru like Thai AirAsia to Bangkok-Don Mueang, Kuwait Airways to Kuwait and Nepal Airlines to Kathmandu. In Chennai also 3 new international service were introduced during the past one year like Mihin Lanka to Colombo, flydubai to Dubai-International and SpiceJet to Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi but at the same time Jet Airways had withdrawn its Kuwait flight from Chennai.

In terms of growth rate of international passengers in the two airports, Bengaluru leads the race with more than 20% growth rate though out 2015. While Chennai's international passenger traffic shows a similar curve till September 2015 although at much slower rate. But it had recorded a major drop in growth rate in October 2015 which is considered to be among the peak seasons. And then finally in December 2015 Chennai had recorded sharp 20.2% decrease in its international passenger volume compared to that of December 2014 owing to the airport closure for almost a week. 



Domestic passenger traffic
In terms of domestic passenger volume Bengaluru is much ahead of Chennai for last several months and in December 2015 BLR had handled more than double domestic passengers of MAA. In the past one year several new domestic airlines had started their service from Bengaluru like Vistara to Delhi and Mumbai, TruJet to Hyderabad and of course the Bengaluru based regional carrier Air Pegasus which flies to Chennai, Hubli, Kadapa, Madurai, Mangalore and Trivandrum. In Chennai also 2 new domestic airlines had started their service during the past one year like TruJet to Hyderabad and Air Pegasus to Bengaluru and Madurai.

In terms of growth rate of domestic passengers in the two airports, Bengaluru again leads the race with double digit growth rate though out 2015. While Chennai's domestic passenger traffic shows a similar curve till April 2015 although at much slower rate. But it had recorded a major drop in growth rate in May 2015 which is considered to be among the peak seasons. And then the growth rate continued to fall for several months and went into negative territory in September 2015. Followed by two months of positive growth during October and November 2015, Chennai Airport witnessed its worst ever performance in December 2015 when it had recorded a 18% decrease in domestic passenger volume compared to that of December 2014 owing to the airport closure for almost a week. 

5 comments:

  1. Chennai airport is not comparable to any of the PPP airports in India. It is like a LCC airport with rude customs employees. The approach roads and parking facilities are pathetic.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks admin to share this useful and informative blog .I had a dream to get my career in Aviation Courses after completing my Course in Aviation i hope that my future will be good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Arjun,
      Thanks for your interest in my blog. Wish you a great career in the aviation world.

      Best-Soumen Mukherjee

      Delete
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