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Parliament panel concerned over congestion at Delhi airport

Hindustan Times, on April 29, had reported that a draft report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) pointed out that too many shops and restaurants at airport could jeopardise lives of passengers during an emergency.

delhi Updated: May 23, 2017 23:59 IST
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, on April 29, had reported that a draft report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) pointed out that too many shops and restaurants at airport could jeopardise lives of passengers during an emergency.
Hindustan Times, on April 29, had reported that a draft report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) pointed out that too many shops and restaurants at airport could jeopardise lives of passengers during an emergency.(SONU MEHTA)

Parliamentarians have raised concern over congestion at Delhi airport and asked the operator to shift some airlines from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 to minimise inconvenience to passengers.

A parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture visited Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) to assess security issues arising due to congestion within the terminals.

Hindustan Times, on April 29, had reported that a draft report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) pointed out that too many shops and restaurants at airport could jeopardise lives of passengers during an emergency.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), responsible for airport security, had also written to the ministry of civil aviation calling commercial establishments a “big hindrance” to evacuation plans.

Apart from MPs, representatives of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), airport operator and civil aviation ministry were also there.

“We asked the airport operator about the increased number of shops but they said they are allowed to carry commercial activities in 20% of the area and currently shops occupy only 5% of the space,” said Kiranmay Nanda, Samajwadi Party MP.

The capacity of T1 is 20 million while it handles 24 million passengers.

“T1 is, however, very congested and passengers are facing a lot of inconvenience. Terminal 2 is ready and we have been told that some of the airlines will be shifted there by November and it will decongest the T1. Regarding T3, we felt that passengers have to walk a lot and buggy service is not available to everyone. We will put forward our recommendations,” said Nanda.

MPs were also of the view that after the launch of regional connectivity scheme, the movements of aircraft will increase and a plan should be prepared keeping in mind the anticipated growth.

Before this, a delegation of 14 PAC members had visited the airport on March 7.

The two terminals, T1 and T3, serve more than 150,000 passengers every day with nearly 1,200 flights arriving or taking off.

The civil aviation ministry has decided to increase the capacity of Delhi airport by 50%. Last year, IGIA handled one crore extra passengers than it handled in the previous year. The infrastructure during the period remained the same and as a result passengers complained of congestion in the terminal and extra waiting time at the security check and immigration check.

Putting together the two terminals of Delhi airport — T1 and T3 have the capacity to handle 62 million passengers per annum. It handled 55.6 million in 2016 and the number is likely to cross the capacity of two terminals this year. Against an average 1,050 flight movements per day in 2015, the number increased to 1,185 flights per day.