Travel Trade Journal
BLR Airport emerges as the transfer hub for South India
Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport), the third busiest airport in India, is making significant contributions to India’s aviation growth story by facilitating robust connectivity to non-metro cities, providing opportunities to people
In the past two decades, a steady influx of low-fare carriers, superior regional connectivity to far-flung cities and a rise in regional air travel have transformed the face of Indian aviation, making it the third-largest domestic aviation market in the world. It has more than doubled from around 169 million in FY 2013-14 to around 341 million in 2019-20, a growth of over 10 per cent per annum.
Currently, BLR Airport serves 74 domestic destinations (in CY 2021)—the highest ever since the airport opening date, as compared to 54 routes during preCOVID and is also the highest amongst South Indian Airports. These additions have mainly been to non-metro destinations, and as a result, flights to non-metro routes have shown a considerable increase from 58 per cent (pre-COVID) to 63 per cent in CY 2021. Moreover, between Q1 and Q4 of 2021, traffic on non-metro routes increased by 27 per cent, reinforcing strong demand on these city pairs.
During the CY 2021, nearly 19 per cent of traffic at BLR Airport comprised of transfer passengers as against 10 per cent pre-COVID. The major airports contributing to high volumes of transfer passengers at BLR Airport were Chennai, Kochi, Hyderabad and Goa.
Apart from the increase in non-metro connectivity, the geographical location of Bengaluru and the growing economy of the State of Karnataka have helped in positioning BLR as the major aviation gateway of South and Central India. BLR Airport offers a wide catchment area of 23 cities within a convenient flying time of 75 minutes. This, coupled with growth in non-metro connectivity, has helped in building the transfer traffic market at BLR Airport. The transfer traffic flow has helped to strengthen loads on other domestic and international routes as well. Moreover, with this catchment area serving a population of 256 million people (i.e., 1/5th of India’s population), BLR Airport is leading the growth story of the region.
In addition, to cater to growing transfer numbers, BLR Airport has further augmented two of its existing transfer zones by creating an additional lane for the smooth transfer of passengers. With the opening of Terminal 2, they expect to add to the transfer experience and look forward to developing BLR Airport as the New Gateway to India.