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Charter movement doubles at Ahmedabad Airport in 4 months

Increased corporate activities, key events taking place in the city and state, coupled with the upcoming assembly elections in the state have led to a rise in high-profile and VVIP movement in Ahmedabad, reports Niyati Parikh for TOI.

The non-scheduled aircraft traffic at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPIA) has nearly doubled in the past four months. On Thursday, the number of charter flight movement in Ahmedabad stood at 25, confirmed a well-placed source. The average daily movement of chartered flights was barely seven in a day in December 2021.

“Recently, K M Birla, who is on the board of Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), travelled here in his charter aircraft for the institute’s convocation ceremony and the board of governors meeting. Earlier this month, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal too visited Gujarat in a charter flight,” said a source privy to the development. According to sources, around 60 passengers travel by charter aircraft.

Over and above three aircraft and helicopters owned by the state government for the chief minister’s movement, several big corporate companies in Gujarat also own aircraft. These include Adani Group, Zydus Lifesciences, Reliance Industries Limited, HN Safal Group, and Nirma Group, among others.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the charter aircraft business has picked up pace. A lot of corporate firms own chartered flights now and are also procuring more. This is not just true for Gujarat-based corporates but those in other cities as well. Due to high demand, charter flight rentals too have gone up by 25%,” said an operator, on condition of anonymity.

Some of the aircraft parked at the SVPI airport include a twin-engine Bombardier Challenger 650, Beechcraft Jets, and Bombardier Globe 6500. The city airport is equipped with some 42 parking bays of which at least 10 are occupied by private charter planes, including government-owned aircraft.

The aircraft frequency increased significantly especially after the new general aviation terminal was inaugurated in January this year.

“The terminal serves as a dedicated point of transit for passengers taking private charter flights and handling VVIP movement, without disturbing people taking scheduled flights,” said an airport source.

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