KOCHI: The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), the world's first aerodrome to run entirely on solar power, has now added another feather to its cap - handling 7.37 crore passengers in 19 financial years of its operations. After commencing operations on June 10, 1999, CIAL, ranked the country's seventh busiest airport, is the only one in Kerala to handle more than one crore passengers in a year. It achieved the feat on March 28, 2018, when Indigo flight 6E 563 from Chennai touched down at 12.20 pm. Also, on the epoch-making day a warm reception was accorded to the 10th millionth passenger - Anil Krishnan from Palakkad - who was presented with a one sovereign gold coin by CIAL Managing Director V J Kurian.
In the first financial year (1999 -2000), the airport handled 4.95 lakh passengers, with 6,473 flights operating out of here. The number of passengers swelled to 7.72 lakh - of which 4.57 lakh were domestic ones - in 2001-02. In 2002-03, CIAL handled 10 lakh passengers for the first time. By 2006-07, CIAL had emerged as one of the country's busiest airports handling 25 lakh passengers.
Barring the first financial year, the airport has been receiving more international passengers than domestic fliers. While the airport took seven years and seven months to reach the one crore passengers' milestone, it added one crore passengers in the next three years. In 2013-14 the annual number of fliers crossed the 50 lakh mark.
Of the 1.01 crore passengers who travelled through CIAL in 2017-18, 52.35 lakh were international travellers. Of the 7,37,25,036 travellers handled by CIAL, 4, 17,80,106 were international travellers. The airport has handled 6,65,178 aircraft till now.
"We are striving to provide international facilities to the domestic passengers. The airport has taken up various infrastructure development projects with a futuristic outlook. The construction of the new domestic terminal, waiting area and shopping centres are being completed. While improving the basic amenities we have not collected development charge from the airport users. We offer the lowest parking and landing fee to the flight operators. The airport is equipped to handle the rising number of passengers," Kurian said.
Total no of passengers handled by CIAL: 7,37,25,036
Total aircraft received: 6,65,178
No of passengers received in 2017-18: 1,01,24,975
Aircraft movement in 2017-18: 68,898
No of passengers handled in 2016-17: 89.4 lakh
International passengers in 2017-18: 48.4 lakh
4% increase in international passengers
Domestic passengers in 2017-18: 51.6 lakh
22% increase in domestic passengers
4th in India in terms of international traffic
7th busiest airport in the country.
25 airlines operate from CIAL.