Chennai Airport (#3 in India) passes 12 million mark; growing at 12% in 2011 as new domestic terminal takes shape
Chennai, in south-east India, is home to India’s third busiest airport (after Delhi and Mumbai). In the 12 month period April 2010 to March 2011 Chennai International Airport handled just over 12 million passengers. Although the airport only ranks fifth among Indian airports for the number of domestic passengers, it ranks a clear third for international passengers (which represent just over one-third of the airport’s traffic), resulting in its third place ranking overall.
Between 2003 and 2006 the airport doubled its passenger numbers as India’s airlines expanded rapidly, with further impressive growth in 2007. However, passenger numbers then stabilised in 2008 and 2009 before climbing once more in 2010. In the first four months of 2011 passenger numbers are up 11.8% compared with 2010.
Jet Airways leading carrier with one in four seats
Jet Airways is by some way the leading airline at the airport with over one-quarter of all flights and seats flown. Air India is just holding off Indigo for second place (based on seats), though Kingfisher ranks second for flights because of its mix of ATRs and Airbus operations.
Over 20 airlines serve the airport including many foreign carriers. The biggest of these is Emirates which offers three daily flights to Dubai. Air Arabia (Sharjah), Etihad (Abu Dhabi), Gulf Air (Bahrain), Oman Air (Muscat), Qatar Airways (Doha) all over at least daily flights while Kuwait Airways and Saudi Arabian also serve the airport. In fact, foreign carriers account for 70% of seat capacity on the airport’s international routes.
Foreign carriers also serve other Asian airports including AirAsia and Malaysian Airlines to Kuala Lumpur; Silk Air, Singapore Airlines and Tiger Airways to Singapore; Thai Airways to Bangkok; and Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong. Among European carriers only British Airways (five weekly flights to London Heathrow) and Lufthansa (daily flights to Frankfurt) are currently visitors at the airport.
Colombo and Singapore leading international destinations
There are over 100 weekly departures to Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, with Air India, Indigo, Jet Airways, Kingfisher and Spicejet each offering daily flights on each of these routes.
The leading international destinations, Colombo and Singapore, are served by at least seven daily flights each with both routes experiencing intense competition. The Sri Lankan capital is served by Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Spicejet and Sri Lankan Airlines, while Singapore is served by three Indian carriers (Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways) and three Singapore-based carriers (Silk Air, Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways).