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MUMBAI: New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International
Airport has jumped six notches to break into the league of the top 20 busiest
airports in the world for 2017 in terms of traffic volumes.

The GMR-group-run New Delhi airport jumped from
22nd rank in 2016 to 16th rank, solidifying its status as one of the fastest
growing airports in the world for passenger traffic, as per the Airports
Council International (ACI).

The ranking is based on the preliminary passenger
traffic results for the most-travelled airports in 2017, released by the ACI
today.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
(ATL) was ranked the busiest airport in the world with 103 million passengers
(both departing and arriving) despite a 0.3 per cent decline in traffic volumes
over 2016.

Founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering
cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, ACI
is the trade association of the world’s airports, currently serving 641 members
operating from 1,953 airports across 176 countries.

ACI’s World Airport Traffic Forecasts also
predicts that the country will represent the third largest aviation market, in
terms of passenger throughput, after the US and China by 2020.

“Delhi, the country’s busiest airport for
passenger traffic, grew by 14.1 per cent year-over-year at 63.45 million,
pushing it up from 22nd to the 16th busiest airport in the world,” the ACI
said in the release.

Even with this rapid growth in throughput, Delhi
was also ranked first in Airport Service Quality for airports above 40 million
passengers per annum along with the Mumbai airport, it said.

Besides, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and
Chennai were also ranked among the fastest growing airports in the world with
an year-over-year growth of 26.9 per cent, 19.6 per cent, 12.9 per cent and
10.5 per cent, respectively during 2017, the ACI said in the release.

Growing rapidly in relatively short period of
time, India is poised to be one of the largest aviation markets in the world in
the years to come, the ACI said.

“With an astounding population base of over
1.3 billion inhabitants, the move towards a more liberalised aviation market
coupled with stronger economic fundamentals has helped to awaken the Bengal
tiger to become one of the fastest growing markets in the world,” the ACI
said.

ACI’s World Airport Traffic Forecasts predicts
that the country will represent the third largest aviation market, in terms of
passenger throughput, after the US and China by 2020, it added.