The shifting of Kingfisher and Jet Airways to Terminal 3 on Sunday added to the chaos at the Indira Gandhi International airport.
Kingfisher and Jet Airways flights were delayed because they hadn’t taken into account the size of T3. Walking 1.3 kilometres from the entry gate to the boarding gate delayed both passengers and crew.
Air India, which shifted its operations to T3 over two weeks back, continues to be the worst affected as it faces staff shortage despite announcing walk-in interviews to hire personnel.
"Both airlines' staff and passengers are not used to the new terminal. Though passengers have been asked to report well before time, it is the distance inside the terminal that is affecting operations," said an airport source, adding, "Air India is still battling with staff shortage and hasn’t been able to operate even a single flight on time."
Teething troubles such as technical glitches in the telephone line and Internet connections affected the check-in process and led to delays.
Almost 90% of the flights that operated on Sunday were delayed by 15 minutes to two hours.
“I arrived from the US around midnight and had booked a ticket to Jammu with Kingfisher Airlines. The airline staff kept us waiting and after two hours they said the flight had been cancelled. We reached Delhi after 16 hours of journey, but the situation here is really bad. We spent the entire night at the terminal and don't know when our flight will take off,” said Priti Pal Singh, an NRI.
The flights of Kingfisher and Jet Airways witnessed delay of 15 minutes to one hour and Air India's flight was delayed for over two hours.
Lucknow- and Patna-bound passengers staged a protest as they couldn't find any airline staff to give them their flight's status. “We are expecting the problems to start ebbing in a week as we are taking various measures,” said an Air India spokesperson.
Baggage continued to be the main problem and as the frequency of flight increased on Sunday, after shifting of two more carriers, the shortage of baggage belts left the passengers harried.
“At belt number six, baggage of five flights was running at one point of time. It was difficult to locate baggage. The airport should have dedicated belts for dedicated flights,” said Ashok Drolia who had arrived from Jet Lite S2 792 from Indore.
Though the Jet Airways Chennai-bound flight was cancelled after being delayed for more than three hours on Saturday, the airline's claimed the transition was smooth.
“Jet Airways completed a successful and smooth migration of the group's domestic operations to and from Delhi to Terminal 3,” said an airline spokesperson.
“By and large, the transition of operations for our domestic flights to T3 went off smoothly. We have put in place a multi-pronged communication system to inform passengers,” said the Kingfisher spokesperson.
“The airline staff told us they are shifting to new terminal and refused to give information about flight,” said a passenger who did not want to be named.