The Delhi International airport and Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport, have been named the best in the world for customer experience in the over 40 million passengers per year category, by the Airports Council International, the global trade representative of the world's airport authorities. However, the increasing air traffic and inadequate airport infrastructure can mar the airport rankings in the future.
“Delhi and Mumbai airports are seeing massive growth in air traffic and maintaining this rankings will be a bit of a challenge. While capacity expansion in Delhi is possible, Mumbai airport will need to look for a new airport because it has reached its saturation point,” says aviation expert Kapil Kaul, CEO of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), the aviation research and consulting firm.
He adds that the domestic traffic in Delhi is expected to double and reach 60 million pax (passengers) in the next five years, while the international traffic is expected to reach 110 million pax from the current level of 60 million.
“As traffic grows, institutional infrastructure is supposed to support this growth and this include conducive policy, security, regulation, expansion of terminals and others,” he says
A February note by India Ratings and Research says it revised the outlook on the airport sector to stable for FY19. The sector performance is boosted by robust passenger volumes, ability to weather economic downturns and a stable business environment, the rating agency says.
“With the rapid increase in pax throughput and inherent infrastructure limitations, airports could face difficulties in handling higher volumes.,” the note adds.
It also says that while the pax growth is strong, the limited unused capacity in large airports is casting a shadow over the ability to handle higher volumes in FY19 and FY20 for large hubs and medium-sized airports.
Meanwhile, the GMR Group is undertaking expansion at Delhi Airport in line with IGIA Master Plan-2016.
“It will not just provide necessary infrastructure boost to facilitate high air traffic and passenger growth, but a delightful passenger experience with right fusion of technology and human touch,” said Srinivas Bommidala, chairman-Airports, GMR Group, that manages both the airports, in Delhi and Mumbai.
The Delhi Airport has recently introduced Terminal 2, the former Indian Airlines terminal, to better manage the traffic and currently has Go Air and Indigo operating out of it. DIAL is also working on new terminals which may take another three years to be operational. However, for Mumbai airport, capacity expansion seems unlikely as the airport has reached its saturation.