Statistics released from the Airports Authority of India show the country’s airports handled more than 254 million passengers in 2016, up 20% on the previous year.
This pushes India into fourth place in the global air travel rankings, overtaking Germany and sitting behind the USA, China and the UK.
Delhi was predictably the most popular hub in the country, handling the 55.6 million passengers that represent a 21% increase on 2015’s figures. Of India’s top 15 airports, 12 grew their passenger volume by over 15%, while Guwahati and Jaipur airports saw a growth of more than 30%.
With passenger numbers at Bengaluru Airport surpassing 22 million thanks to a growth of 22.5%, local media have reported that aviation bodies are considering reopening the city’s old airport, which closed upon the opening of its newer counterpart in 2008.
Passenger numbers on domestic routes increased by more than 20% in every month of 2016, the biggest growth the country has achieved since 2006.
While domestic traffic has been the main driver of growth at India’s airports, international service use grew by 8.5% last year, despite only representing 20% of all air travel. Brussels Airlines will start a service from Brussels to Mumbai in March, while SpiceJet will connect Delhi with Bangkok from April.