New Delhi airport
An airport staff employee stands inside the newly constructed T3 terminal of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi in this July 15, 2010, file photo. REUTERS/B Mathur

Riding on huge volume of traffic, New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has now become the world's 12th busiest airport moving four places up from 16th position in 2017. With this jump, IGI has surpassed major hubs such as the Frankfurt, Dallas Forth Worth, Guangzhou and Istanbul Ataturk airports. English daily, the Times of India has reported that as per the preliminary world airport traffic rankings for 2018 released by Airports Council International (ACI), IGIA registered the fastest growth among top 20 airports across the world.

Operated by Delhi International Airport Limited ( DIAL) which is a joint venture, formed as a consortium between GMR Group (54%), Airports Authority of India (26%), and Fraport AG & Eraman Malaysia (10% each), IGIA witnessed 6.9 crore domestic and international flyers in 2018. The traffic is 10.2 percent higher than the combined passenger of 2017. It is to be noted that only Seoul's Incheon International, at the 16th place in 2018 with 10% point growth, was somewhere near to Delhi.

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Reuters file

Interestingly, four airports just above New Delhi viz. Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Shanghai Pudong and Hong Kong witnessed a traffic up to 46 lakh passengers more than IGIA. Due to delays in the expansion of IGI, the traffic volumes have been just confined to nearly 10 per cent. The airport could have made it to the top 10 last year only, had there been no delays in its expansion. Delhi is at the heart of the world's fastest-growing aviation market and is expected to grow even further after the expansion is carried out.

ACI, the global representative of the world's airports said  "India became the world's third-largest aviation market in terms of passenger throughput, behind the US and China, in 2018. India's move towards a more liberalised aviation market and the nation's strengthening economic fundamentals have helped it become one of the fastest-growing markets with its traffic growing rapidly in a relatively short time."

The growing purchasing power of the middle class is the major reason why aviation has a brighter prospect in India. ACI World director general Angela Gittens added  "With the cost of travel decreasing in many markets, and a burgeoning middle class growing in emerging markets, passenger traffic growth has remained irrepressible. ACI's global medium-term forecasts reveal that the growth in demand between 2018 and 2023 will grow by almost 30%."