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Kochi airport revenue drops from Rs 50 crore to Rs 8 crore per month due to Covid

Officials attribute the declining revenues to the reduction of aircraft operation from 142 to just 30 (10 international and 20 domestic per day).

Published: 25th June 2021 08:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th June 2021 08:33 PM   |  A+A-

Kochi airport

With the lockdown affecting the movement of flights, numerous aircraft lie idle at the Kochi airport. (EPS | A Sanesh)

Express News Service

KOCHI: The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has witnessed a drastic revenue loss from an average of Rs 50 crore to Rs 8 crore per month in the financial year that ended on March 31, becoming one of the worst-affected airports in the country. Officials attribute the declining revenues to the reduction of aircraft operation from 142 to just 30 (10 international and 20 domestic per day) and the number of passengers reduced from 10 million to almost half that number in the year 2020-21.

The passenger load factor was 140 for 180 capacity per flight during pre-Covid times, whereas now it has been reduced to 60.

Being the first and only airport in the country operating on solar energy, the maintenance expense for the airport is also high.

"In Covid times, the expense comes around Rs 30-32 crore per month, as there are more safety and precautions to adhere for the passengers," said ACK Nair, director, CIAL. "During the first lockdown in 2020, the airport had almost no income. Gradually with more relaxations, the income went up to Rs 8-9 crore and kept on dropping with the coming of the second wave," he said.

ALSO READ | COVID-19 impact: Passenger traffic at Bengaluru airport dips 66 per cent

The situation is similar in the case of all other airports in Kerala, officials said. With more relaxations on domestic travelling, the number of passengers has increased. 

"The situation is slightly better than the recent days. However, it will take at least two-and-a-half years for the airport to come back to its pre-Covid revenue and passenger figures of international passengers, and that too, only if no further Covid waves hit India. With the relaxation on domestic travelling, we expect the revenue for the same to be regained in 1.5 years," Nair said.

He also said the second wave's experience brought much more loss than from the first wave.  With the third wave predicted, the citizens will be more careful and will take precautionary steps, hitting the airport's operations further. According to Nair, the new normal at least for the next two to three years will be allowing only fully-vaccinated passengers to embark on international travel.

Numbers that tell the tale:

Pre-Covid
142 flights operated per day
10 million passengers per year (2019-20)
Rs 50 crore average revenue per month

During Covid
30 flights operated per day
5 million passengers (2020-21)
Rs 8 crore average revenue per month
 



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