If you are taking a flight out of Indira Gandhi International Airport, it would take you only 14 minutes to get past all the counters and reach the boarding area —or so the airport’s private operator claims.
With the opening of more entry gates and check-in, security and immigration counters, the days of three-hour-long waits to clear all the queues are now hopefully over. Airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) has completed the upgradation of the international terminal 2 and promises that passengers would not face any more inconvenience of the kind in last few months.
DIAL has also conducted a sample ‘time in motion’ study to understand how much time it takes at each of the processing points. The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which is a stakeholder in DIAL, is appointing an independent agency to conduct a more in-depth study spread over three month and submit a report.
“As this is the lean travel season, it takes only 14 minutes for a passenger to get down from their car, clear all the formalities and reach the security hold area. The time would increase to over 40 minutes by October but we are trying to bring it down to 30 minutes,” said Andrew Harrison, DIAL’s Chief Operations Officer.
“We have learnt from our mistakes in upgrading T2 and, if we do the same work now, we would do it differently,” he said. “Passengers had to face a lot of inconvenience during the peak season in November-December last year,” he said. “This terminal was meant for 5 million passengers annually but is handling more than 8 million right now. However, we tried to take up as little space as possible for renovation work.”
Some problems, like leaking roofs, might just continue. “In a old building like this, it is wrong to say that we can stop the leaks completely. However, it would not inconvenience passengers anymore or damage machines but you just might see us mopping the floor sometimes,” he said.
The first change visible at the new look terminal is the doubling of entry points, a major problem area even sometime ago, from four to eight. Immigration counters, the second and biggest bottleneck at the airport, is also witnessing some improvement. The number of counters has gone up to 52 but there was a dearth of immigration officials. “All counters would be manned by immigration officials in peak hours but the numbers would be less in lean hours,” he said.
DIAL has also recently introduced in-line baggage handling system and passengers would not have to get their luggage X-rayed before check-in now. Removal of the old machines has also increased space at the congested terminal and DIAL has managed to install some seats at check-in area also for passengers coming much before their flight.