Hyderabad: GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), which runs the southern city’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, expects a slight decline in passenger traffic this fiscal year because of the crisis in the aviation industry.

Some 8.6 million passengers travelled through the airport last year.

“This year, from the passenger point of view, doesn’t look as good as last year. We have our own local challenges and to say we won’t have an impact will not be correct," Vikram Jaisinghani, chief executive officer of GHIAL, said on Thursday.

RajivGandhi, International Airport,Hyderabad. Photo By Bharath Sai/Mint.

The Hyderabad airport operator broke even in FY11 and expects to make a profit in the year ended 31 March, spurred by 16% growth in passenger traffic over the previous year, led by domestic travellers.

The airport is positioning itself as a major cargo hub in India, banking on its location. Its cargo division handled 82,000 tonnes, dominated by pharmaceuticals, during the last financial year. As part of this effort, Jaisinghani said the airport will tap places other than Hyderabad such as Pune, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur and other centres in the south to increase air freight exports, projected to grow by 8-10% this year.

The company is also investing $4 million to build a dedicated cargo apron to park wide body freight aircrafts such as Boeing 747-8F and Antonov AN-124, said Hemanth D.P., chief operating officer, hub development and cargo, GHIAL.