World Cup fever has gripped the country, and its ripples are being felt at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad as well, with private jet movement reaching a new high. Air charter movement at SVPI airport for only two matches – the opening match and the much-awaited India-Pakistan match next week – is expected to cross 200 jets, according to estimates based on current movement.
The private jet air traffic is over and above the 250+ scheduled flights moving in and out of the city airport every single day.
As teams of England and New Zealand, sponsors, businessmen and other celebrities landed in the city for the opening match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 on October 5, that saw a heightened movement of chartered planes.
According to sources, the city airport handled some 90 non-scheduled charter aircraft movements from October 2-6 for the WC opening match.
This movement is expected to go much higher given the unprecedented interest among cricket enthusiasts for the high-octane contest between India and Pakistan. Sources said that October will close with at least 30% higher private jet movement, against September, which saw at least 500 movements.
While inquiries continue to be made among aviation firms and brokers, even routine bookings for corporate movements are on a high. “Schedules for about 30 non-scheduled chartered aircraft have already been booked for next week with the airport operator but more are in the offing,” said a well-placed source.
In a single day on October 4, some 24 private jets moved from the city airport followed by 40 more over the subsequent two days.
Corporates, celebrities, and sportsmen continue to take private jets to land in the city even as the ground handling and landing charges have been jacked up at the airport for October, anticipating high demand, a source confirmed.