Sunday, January 25, 2009

Drop in air traffic hits businesses at BIA

Drop in air traffic hits businesses at BIA

K.V. Subramanya

Retail outlets have recorded 40 per cent fall in business

BIAL expects 20 per cent fall in passenger traffic

Taxi drivers struggling to make three trips a day

CHICKBALLAPUR: The economic slowdown and steep fall in Bangalore’s air passenger traffic has affected the business of various agencies operating from Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) at Devanahalli.

With the decrease in the number of inbound and outbound passengers in the past few months, the business at retail and duty free outlets as well as food and beverage counters at the BIA had been “adversely impacted”, airport sources told The Hindu on Friday.

Bangalore’s air traffic is expected to plummet by nearly 20 per cent by March-end. Bangalore’s air passenger traffic was 10.3 million in 2007-08.

Bengaluru International Airport Ltd. (BIAL), which operates BIA, estimates that this year would record only 8.4 million passengers.

Retail activity was among the first to get affected when there was cash and credit crunch in the market. It was evident in the performance of most retailers worldwide as well as in India.

“At our airport, the influence has been quite similar,” the sources said. It is said the business had come down by nearly 40 per cent at these outlets.

The retail and duty free outlets at the BIA are run by Nuance, which operates such outlets in airports in five continents, in association with Shopper’s Stop. HMS Host Corporation operates F&B counters at the airport.

The economic slump has cast a shadow on airport advertisements.

While some corporates had withdrawn, there has been a fewer long-term contracts as a majority of the clients had been rationalising budgets, the sources said in regard to the adverse impact of the slowdown on airport advertising.

As expected, the drop in air traffic has severely dented the earnings of drivers working for Easy Cab and Meru, the BIAL concessionaries, who operate 900 taxis and have around 1,200 drivers.

“I used to make at least five trips a day when the airport commenced commercial operations in May last. For the past four months, I am struggling to make even three trips a day.

The other reason for fall in business is the improved bus services of BMTC,” said Manjunatha, an Easy Cab driver.


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