- BLR Airport resumes 25 international departing flights in a day; expects to add new routes and airlines in a phased approach
- BLR Airport has increased the use of automation at pre-embarkation checkpoints to reduce waiting time as international passenger footfall is expected to rise gradually
With the resumption of international flights to and from India, the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru (BLR Airport) has been witnessing 25 daily international departures, a significant increase from the earlier 10 per day.
With the gradual increase in international operations, BLR Airport’s route network is expected to further augment with the resumption of routes and additional flights to cater to the demand.
Currently, BLR Airport is connected to 21 international destinations operating through 24 airlines, and the Airport will be adding newer routes later this year to Seattle (American Airlines) and will be strengthening its existing route to San Francisco (Air India) with United Airlines set to launch weekly flights in October, connecting the world’s two biggest tech hubs – Bengaluru and San Francisco.
To address the expected increase in passenger traffic and make the airport experience more seamless, Bangalore International Airport Ltd. (BIAL) — operator of BLR Airport — has deployed automation-enabled technology at various checkpoints such as terminal entry, check-in, security check, immigration, and customs. The existing technology such as self-baggage drops, smart security lane with automated tray retrieval system, along with other contactless technology will further improve the overall airport experience.
“Delivering superior customer experience and consistently improving operational efficiency has become a strategic priority as passenger volumes are expected to grow over the next few months. The timely announcement of the resumption of international flight operations ahead of the busy summer travel season has set a positive tone for the industry. With continuous infrastructure development and technology integrations, BLR Airport is well prepared to handle larger passenger volumes,” said Mr. Hari Marar, MD & CEO, Bangalore International Airport Ltd.
Growth in Passenger Traffic Movements
Air travel recovery is expected to be faster following the resumption of international operations. While passenger traffic grew by 19% in CY2021 (vs pre-Covid CY 2019) due to travel restrictions and cross-border entry, it is expected to grow steadily in the coming months, driven by the strong leisure and business travel demand from the city of Bengaluru.
Pre-covid, BLR Airport was connected to 25 international destinations, with an average of 40 international departures each day. Despite the subdued pandemic environment both in 2020 as well as 2021, BLR Airport achieved some significant accomplishments in CY 2021 –
- Air India’s bi-weekly, non-stop Bengaluru-San Francisco flight, becoming the first Airport in South and Central India to have a non-stop connectivity to North America
- Japan Airlines weekly flights to Tokyo Narita (expected to progressively increase frequency of flights between BLR-NRT)
- FlyDubai’s operations from BLR Airport to Dubai
- United Airlines and American Airlines announced flight operations to BLR Airport despite the pandemic (flights are expected to start later this year)
Domestic and Transfer Passengers
The domestic passenger traffic recovery has been promising (nearly 80% higher than Covid levels), especially during the first three weeks of March this year. The domestic Air Traffic Movement (ATM) recovery has been close to 90% of pre-Covid levels and is expected to grow further in the coming weeks.
Despite the restrictions on international travel and subdued traffic growth in the past two years, BLR Airport has established itself as a transfer hub for South India. BLR Airport has the strongest connectivity in South India, connecting to 74 domestic destinations. Flights to non-metro routes have significantly increased passenger numbers from 58% (pre-Covid) to 63% of pre-Covid levels in CY 2021. Moreover, between Q1 and Q4 of 2021, passenger traffic from non-metro routes has increased by 27%, indicating strong demand between Bengaluru and these points.
BLR Airport was recently conferred with prestigious awards in two categories – Best Airport and ‘Aviation Innovation’ Award for excellence in innovation at Wings India 2022.