Pune: India’s air passenger traffic has doubled over the last decade, though the pecking order of the top air routes, on which people travel regularly, has largely remained the same, according to a report. Within a decade, the number of fliers on the Delhi-Pune-Delhi route has increased from 9.74 lakh in 2007 to 30.31 lakh in 2017.
A civil aviation research firm, OAG, has revealed in its data about fliers with a list of top 17 routes operated by domestic and international airlines, in terms of seats deployed which, while not being the same as the actual passengers flown, is a factor of growth in passenger traffic.
Dhairyashil Vandekar, aviation expert and analyst, said, “Pune being an IT, industrial and educational hub, there is a large population from north India and northeastern states residing in Pune for work and education. They also contribute to the demand on the route. Also, tourists and pilgrims from northern, NW, eastern and NE India visit pilgrim centres of Bhimashankar, Ashtavinayak, Shirdi, Shani Shingnapur, Nashik, Trimbakeswar and tourist places such as Lonavla, Konkan, Mahableshwar, Panchgani and historical forts of Chhatrapati Shivaji.”
According to data, the Delhi-Pune-Delhi route has, however, climbed down from the 15th place in 2007 to the sixth place in 2017 while the Delhi-Kolkata-Delhi route scaled up to the fourth spot in 2017 from seventh in 2007, according to data sourced from civil aviation research firm OAG. The Delhi-Lucknow-Delhi route climbed four places from the 17th rank in 2007 to the 12th in 2017.
However, certain routes such as Delhi-Kolkata-Delhi, Delhi-Pune-Delhi, Delhi-Ahmedabad-Delhi, Delhi-Lucknow-Delhi and Delhi-Hyderabad-Delhi, which witnessed a sluggish growth till 2014, witnessed a spike in the number of seats allocated in the following three years.
According to data, routes such as Delhi-Pune-Delhi have, however, climbed from the 15th place in 2007 to the sixth place in 2017 while the Delhi-Kolkata-Delhi route scaled up to the fourth spot in 2017 from seventh in 2007, according to data sourced from civil aviation research firm OAG. The Delhi-Lucknow-Delhi route climbed four places from the 17th rank in 2007 to the 12th in 2017. In the same period, 30 lakh passengers chose Delhi-Chennai-Delhi, which is one rank behind from Pune. Also, on Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai routes 29.32 lakh passengers travelled in 2017.
Dhairyashil Vandekar, aviation expert and analyst, said that the Pune-Delhi air route has always been in demand because of the healthy affinity between two cities.
“With many important Central and state government units based in Pune, there is round-the-year to and fro movement of government and defence officials on the route. There is also heavy movement on Pune-Delhi route of passengers travelling to tourist and religious destinations in northern and eastern part of the country including Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, the northeastern states etc. In the absence of sufficient international direct flights from Pune, Delhi also serves as the gateway point for travellers from western Maharashtra, who connect onwards to international destinations - both neighbouring countries and to destinations in Europe, the USA, Australia etc,” he said.
“Also, travel by road to Mumbai by the Expressway is perceived by many as unsafe due to the increasing number of accidents and traffic jams occurring, especially during weekends. Hence, passengers prefer to travel seamlessly via Delhi to and from international and other domestic destinations, to which flights do not operate from Pune,” Vandekar said.