Flyers waiting to catch flights at the domestic terminal of Indira Gandhi International Airport suffered a sweaty ordeal as the facility’s air-conditioning system stopped on Thursday afternoon.
The air-conditioner failed after a water supply line to the system was damaged because of the construction of a metro train line in the vicinity
The discomfort was aggravated by the nearly 37° Celsius heat during the day, coupled with a humidity level of 82%.
The airport’s 1D domestic terminal, which is used by IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir airlines, receives heavy traffic, with around 30,000 people flying in and out of it every day.
John Kharshiing, who reached the airport at 2:15 in the afternoon to catch a flight to Guwahati, said, “As soon as I entered the airport, I felt the AC is not working. People were using newspapers, books or any other item they had in hand to fan themselves.”
The worst thing was there were no announcements, he added.
A spokesperson of the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), the agency that looks after the airport, said the air-conditioner failed around 4pm after a water supply line was damaged because of the construction.
He said: “This affected the cooling capacity in a portion of the terminal. While repairs are on, the airport operator has switched on split air-conditioners, blowers and exhaust fans.”
DIAL officials said they distributed free water bottles and requested the airlines for early boarding.
Another passenger, R Kumar said, “There were no fans in the waiting area and people were allowed to go near the runway area only to board a flight only one-hour before. We had no option but to bear the heat.”
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is building a station at the domestic terminal, which could be ready by this year-end.
The station named Terminal 1D, which serves low-cost domestic carriers, will be on the 34.2-km Janakpuri West (Delhi)-Botanical Garden (Noida) corridor of the metro and is expected to begin trial runs by September.
A senior official at DRMC said the damage was caused when construction work was on near the entry and exit points of the station.
“We try to take maximum precaution to ensure there is no inconvenience to people due to our construction work.”