Air India's decision to shift arrivals of 11 of its domestic flights to Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport is causing inconvenience to passengers of the airline's other routes. Delays in baggage handling are further aggravating the situation.
On Monday, passengers of flight AI 188 (Singapore-Delhi-Amritsar) and three more flights had to wait for five hours to reclaim their baggage, as the airline staff failed to coordinate effectively between domestic and international flights.
Another reason why Air India flights are getting delayed is because the national carrier is managing domestic operations from two terminals (1A and T3), October 31 onwards.
While Air India is handling domestic arrivals at T3, it is handling both domestic arrivals and departures at Terminal 1A.
However, on Sunday, there was only one staff member to manage the departure of three flights.
"The domestic section of the Terminal 3 (T3) is not yet connected with the aerobridge. Since operations were scheduled to start from November 14, we had to carry the baggage to the terminal in trolleys," said an Air India spokesperson.
"It is still early days and everything will be fine shortly," the spokesperson added.
According to sources, baggage handling of Air India flights from Chennai, Bangalore and Canada also got delayed.
"Even though flight AI 188 landed at 11.30 am, passengers could not reclaim the baggage before 5 pm. Naturally, they protested," said a source at the airport.
Air India had taken the decision to operate 11 domestic arrivals from T3 to keep its recently announced winter schedule unchanged.
The national carrier also decided to maintain the time difference between two flights, already declared earlier.
According to sources, Air India has announced 15 non-stop flights for international destinations from eight cities.
The carrier has planned the whole schedule hoping to conduct operations from T3.
"From Sunday, some of Air India's domestic flights arriving at Delhi are being parked at T3. This arrangement has been necessitated due to the postponement of shifting of domestic operations," said an Air India spokesperson.
"These aircraft are earmarked for onward international operations," the spokesperson added. The passengers of these flights are now disembarking at T3.
Their baggage, too, is being delivered at the domestic arrival section of T3.
However, since the whole operation will be completely in place only after November 14, passengers of the 11 flights arriving here are facing problems.