Bengaluru: The Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport) said on Monday it recorded its highest-ever cargo tonnage, despite a turbulent pandemic environment.
During the Calendar Year 2021 (CY 2021), the airport processed an all-time high tonnage of 406,688 Metric Tonnes (MT) of cargo, recording a growth of 28.6 percent vs. 316,305MT in 2020. This is 7.2 percent more than the pre-COVID level tonnage of 379,348MT in 2019. International cargo recorded a 32.8 percent growth, with 265,873MT being processed, as compared to 200,209MT in 2020, it said in a statement.
Domestic cargo grew at 21.3 percent, 140,815 MT processed versus 116,096MT in 2020. The US and Europe continue to be the top trade lanes from BLR Airport.
MD & CEO, Bangalore International Airport Limited, Hari Marar, said: ”The key factors that contributed to the cargo growth at BLR Airport are our resilient ecosystem that ensured efficient operations round the clock; focus on supply chain efficiencies; conducive geographic location, aided with robust infrastructure and technology; the right mix of commodities, and adequate airline capacities to key markets, globally.”
During CY 2021, BLR Airport welcomed 16.07 million passengers, registering a growth of 18.9 percent versus 13.51 million passengers in CY 2020. The airport said it has been able to recover 48.0 percent of the pre-COVID level traffic of 33.65 million passengers handled in CY 2019.
With the gradual easing of curbs by various state governments, domestic passenger traffic recorded double-digit growth of 22.0 percent, an upswing from 12.39 million in CY 2020 to 15.12 million in CY 2021.
The second wave of Covid-19, which led to continued travel restrictions across the globe, followed by supply-side limitations on seat load factors has led to a decline in international traffic. During this period, international passenger traffic shrunk by 15.5 percent, from 1.12 million in CY 2020 to 0.94 million in CY 2021.
Air Traffic Movements (ATM) at BLR Airport were up by 22.5 percent in CY 2021, with the total ATMs during this period being 153,212. Both domestic and international movements saw an upward trend of 23.8 percent and 12.0 percent, respectively.
The year also saw significant growth in the number of domestic destinations from 54 (pre-COVID) to 74, the highest ever for BLR Airport. BLR Airport currently serves 20 international destinations under the Government of India’s Air Bubble arrangement.
”CY 2021 was a historic year for international traffic at BLR Airport. In January, Air India commenced the twice-weekly, non-stop Bengaluru-San Francisco service. With this, BLR Airport became the first airport in South and Central India to have a direct connectivity to North America,” the statement said.
Japan Airlines commenced flights under the Air Bubble arrangement between Bengaluru-Tokyo Narita from March 2021. The airline plans to increase frequency once the restrictions on international travel are relaxed. United Airlines and American Airlines are expected to commence operations in 2022 to San Francisco and Seattle, respectively, it was stated.