Hyderabad: One of the largest and perhaps among the busiest airports in the country, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) here is all set to achieve a milestone this year with the annual passenger traffic about to cross the 20-million mark, double of what the traffic was four years ago.
While the airport registered 10 million passengers in 2014-2015, the annual growth in domestic passengers shot up over 20 per cent while for international passengers, there was a 20 per cent growth during each of the last three years.
Inaugurated in 2008, RGIA which is operated by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), started to register a significant growth in annual passenger traffic during 2010-11 and a major thrust came from 2016-17 onwards.
Though the airport was initially designed to handle 12 million passengers, the air traffic began to soar from 2015-16, much beyond the expectations of the GMR group.
SGK Kishore, CEO, GHIAL, said the city was witnessing a boom in air travel and with its strategic locational advantage, passenger traffic through the RGIA was growing at a rate of 24 per cent year over year.
To handle the increasing passenger flow, the RGIA is also undergoing a major expansion and will see a host of developments to take the capacity up to around 40 million passengers per year, almost doubling its existing capacity.
“We have taken up expansion works to increase the capacity to 34 to 40 million passengers per annum,” Kishore said.
On the other hand, the Interim International Departures Terminal, which is set to commence operations on October 23, has been designed to handle five lakh international departures per annum, giving a further boost to traffic.
Hyderabad airport is on a par with New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, which together handle over 50 per cent of air passengers in the country.
Currently, 22 airlines operate international flights from the RGIA, which on an average, handles over 5,500 international departing passengers and 32 international departures daily, connecting to 29 global destinations.
According to GMR officials, the footfall from the RGIA is more towards the Middle East, the UK, the US and Australia, apart from various parts of the country including Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru.