At a time when smokers are being shunned out of every corner of public realm, the Indira Gandhi International Airport is going to embrace them with open arms. Not only is the airport going to provide a smoking area, there will be a seating arrangements for smokers, who are increasingly being treated as social pariahs.
“In about a week, the international terminal 2 will have a designated smoking area,” said a senior official of airport operator Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL).
“The plan has been in the offing but it took some time to implement,” the official said. IGIA’s international terminal never had a smoking area, though old-timers talk about the existence of one at the domestic terminal, some 15 years ago. “It was closed due to objections over health grounds,” an airport source said.
“The smoking zone will be in the security hold area after the immigration and security checks. The area will not be too big ,” the official said. “We would ensure the fumes are properly extracted and don’t get mixed with the air-conditioning,” he said.
He added international passengers, who take long haul flights and are now allowed to smoke on-board, feel the need to light up at the airport. “There should be provision to smoke at IGIA like any other international airport,” he said. “If we can sell cigarettes in duty free shops, why stop people from smoking?” he said.