Officials at the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said that a reversing trend has been noticed since April 14 at northeast airports and Guwahati airport in particular, which records the maximum footfall in the region.
As per figures furnished by AAI sources, 10,010 passengers arrived in the northeast on April 14, against 10,825 passengers exiting from various NE airports.
But since then, the gap between the arriving and departing passengers has been growing.
On April 15, the number of passengers arriving in NE further declined further to 8,640. The number of departing passengers also dipped but it was higher at 9,416.
The very next day (April 16), the number of arriving travellers stood at 9,066, whereas 10,233 departed.
The corresponding figures of arriving and departing passengers respectively on April 17 were 9,600 and 11,111, while the same on April 18 were 10,131 and 11,124.
On April 19, however, the gap reduced with 9,412 arriving and 9,623 departing passengers. AAI officials said that the trend will be significant for the next few days in the wake of stricter Covid guidelines being implemented outside of the northeast.
“The trend since April 14 is important because the number of arriving passengers has been lower than the departing passengers as this is unusual for the northeast. The gap is significant if we see the trend at Guwahati airport where the number of arriving passengers daily has gone down between 1,000-1,500, if compared to the number of departing passengers,” an AAI official told TOI on Tuesday.
“The number of incoming passengers may go up if the Covid situation does not improve in the country and the people of the northeast staying outside the region decide to return home in big numbers,” he added.
Data shows that from April 13 itself, arrival declined noticeably at Guwahati airport, as compared to departure.
On April 13, 5,500 passengers arrived at the Guwahati airport, whereas 6,591 departed.
Between April 14 and 16, the number of arriving passengers was below the 5,000 mark.
Though the arrival rate went up marginally in the next three days, on an average, the number of passengers arriving everyday in Guwahati has been less by around 1,000, as compared to the departing passengers.
The scenario is different for train passengers. A huge rush for tickets is being witnessed for northeast- bound trains and those heading for other cities outside of the region.
Railway officials said that in around 20 express trains plying in the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone everyday, about 20,000 inbound and outbound passengers are being recorded. “Most seats are booked in express trains and the waiting list is long,” said NFR PRO Nripen Bhattacharya.
Though a significant number of students from states like Maharashtra have returned home in the last few days, the Railways have not noticed any unusual movement of workers, especially from South Indian states, from where a large number of migrant workers returned to NE states during the lockdown last year. “We have not noticed any exodus of migrant workers like last year yet, Bhattacharya said.