Bengaluru has upped the ante with a second, parallel runway and numerous other attractive facilities, increasing air traffic movement to more than 60 an hour compared to around 45 in Mumbai. This would mean over 2000 additional seats per hour at BLR resulting in Bengaluru overtaking Mumbai in air traffic. New Delhi continues to remain the country’s busiest airport.
Bengaluru airport is robustly expanding its supply of facilities, upping its ante in the airports game while the Navi Mumbai airport has been a pipe dream for over two decades as it continues to move at a snail’s pace. The current airport in Mumbai has run its course with no more scope for improvement of the movement.
Bangalore Airport has welcomed many more passengers as the city is becoming a more happening place than before, with a young, cosmopolitan crowd that travels often for business and pleasure and demands greater airport facilities.
In terms of facilities and services, Bengaluru Airport has rapidly implemented projects, while Mumbai Airport has regularly lagged.
On June 8, the Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), owners of the Taj Group of Hotels, announced a proposal to develop a giant property in proximity to Bengaluru airport that will cater to both high-end and budget travellers. The property will hold 450 rooms of the Vivanta brand and 325 rooms of the brand Ginger.
Between FY15 and FY19 Mumbai witnessed an average growth of 6 percent in domestic air traffic, while in the same period, Bengaluru saw an average growth of 18 percent in domestic traffic. Due to the dependence on Jet Airways, traffic stagnated at Mumbai in FY19 while that at Bengaluru registered a growth of 25 percent.
Although the air traffic movement increased by demolishing the old ATC tower complex and other infrastructure at Mumbai Airport, it also signified no scope for further growth.
Bengaluru Airport has consistently seen more domestic passengers than Mumbai after domestic civil aviation opened up post lockdown in 2020. A major reason is that Maharashtra had capped flight services and levied several restrictions as the state became the epicenter of the pandemic.
The only other airport conducting parallel operations is New Delhi, which has three runways. Mumbai has been the top airport in India by passenger traffic until the late 2000s. However, due to the lack of ability to expand and Delhi’s growing businesses, Delhi overtook Mumbai and the gap has grown steadily ever since. It is highly probable that the same could happen for Bengaluru as additional capacity could help the airport overtake Mumbai.