Singapore, Jan 29 (PTI) The passenger traffic between Singapore and India registered the strongest growth of 12 per cent in 2018 and touched the 4.76 million mark, as the city-state’s airport handled a record 65 million travellers last year, the Changi Airport Group said on Tuesday.

It listed Mumbai among the top 20 routes, the traffic on which grew by at least five per cent in 2018. The other routes include Denpasar (Bali), London (UK), Manila (the Philippines), Melbourne and Sydney.

Singapore is now linked to North-East India via Guwahati by flight operated by Drukair Royal Bhutan Airlines.

The airport established connections to seven new cities which include Nanchang (China), Berlin (Germany), Guwahati, Pune and Vijayawada in India, Belitung in Indonesia and Warsaw in Poland.

With the introduction of direct flight to Pune, one of Changi’s top unserved points in India, Singapore has opened up its direct connection with the Maharashtra’s second largest city, the Changi Airport Group (CAG) said in a statement.

The air link between Singapore and Vijaywada Airport in Amaravati was also a significant milestone, it said, adding that it marked Singapore’s partnership with Andhra Pradesh in building the new capital city of Amaravati.

Overall, the Changi airport handled around 65.6 million passengers last year, an increase of 5.5 per cent over 2017, while the aircraft movement – landings and take-offs – increased by 3.4 per cent to 386,000, while cargo volumes rose by 1.4 per cent to touch 2.15 million tonne mark, the CAG said.

Growth was observed for airfreight throughput across all segments exports, imports and trans-shipments.

The top five markets for airfreight in 2018 were China, Australia, Hong Kong, the United States and India.

The busiest day of the year for the airport was December 21, which was the Friday before Christmas, during which a total of 221,155 passengers passed through Changi’s terminals, setting a new daily record for the airport, the CAG said.

Fuel costs and trade tensions may make for a challenging business environment but demand for air travel in Asia-Pacific is still forecast to grow steadily in 2019, said Lim Ching Kiat, CAG managing director for air hub development.

He said with the completion of expansion work Changi’s Terminal 1 (T1) this year, the airport’s total handling capacity would increase to 85 million passengers per annum.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.