Kochi: Catching up with the momentum witnessed by Indian aviation sector, Cochin International Airport Ltd. (CIAL) has logged the magical figure of 10 million passengers in a single financial year. Cochin international airport, the first airport in the world fully powered by solar energy and the first airport in the country built under PPP model, crossed this major milestone in its 19-year history on March 28 when the Indigo flight 6E 563 from Chennai docked Terminal -2 at 12.20 pm.
In a warm gesture, CIAL’s managing director V J Kurian and other officials personally received the 10 millionth passenger, Anil Krishna, belonging to Palakkad, and gifted him with a one-sovereign gold coin.
CIAL had handled 8.94 million passengers in FY 2016-17 and witnessed a steady increase in traffic this year with a total passenger volume of 10 million plus despite the FY yet to be concluded. The airport registered 22 per cent increase in domestic passenger volume, touching 4.84 million, compared to 3.94 million in FY 2016-17. The international sector witnessed an increase of four per cent with 5.16 million passengers, compared to 4.98 million in FY 2016-17. The total aircraft movement has increased by 13 per cent from 62,827 during last FY to 68,898 in this FY so far.
There are 25 airlines operating from CIAL offering connectivity to almost all destinations in the Middle East and to cities in Far East like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. As per the existing schedule, the airport is well connected to Indian cities with weekly services to New Delhi (95), Bengaluru (71), Mumbai (68) and direct daily services to Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Pune and other cities. This year also, CIAL maintained the status quo of being the fourth largest airport in the country in terms of international traffic and seventh largest in terms of total traffic.
The country has been witnessing an extraordinary growth in the domestic aviation sector. Last year, it registered 100 million passengers and became the third largest in the world in terms of domestic passengers.
V J Kurian said in a post event briefing that CIAL is well prepared to absorb this growth. “The growth of domestic aviation is phenomenal so that the airport operators have to double their capacity every four years. There are 480 aircraft operating today for the airlines companies in India and orders have already been placed with manufacturers for another 1,080 planes which are expected to arrive in the next 10 years. The capacity enhancement of the airports should be of utmost importance. CIAL is also gearing up for this. We are renovating the existing Terminal-1 for the domestic operations and it will have 6 lakh square feet built-up area and feature all modern amenities. This will be added to the existing 16 lakh square feet of terminal space. We expect the renovated terminal to be operational during May 2018,” said Kurian.
A C K Nair, Airport Director; A M Shabeer, Executive Director; Sunil Chacko and Chief Financial Officer were present at the briefing.