A day after the Hindustan Times highlighted the maddening rush at the Indira Gandhi International Airport where passengers trying to board flights have fainted or have had epileptic fits due to the claustrophobic conditions prompted by construction work, the authorities said passengers will have to bear with the problems for at least two more months.
Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL), the airport operator, said things would become smoother by then when the first-phase renovation work at the international terminal building will be complete.
DIAL promised a slew of new facilities by then to quell the now-seen serpentine queues. The number of gates at the departure terminal will increase to eight from the present four by May 2008, it said. “We are also putting up a fifth gate for airport employees. Passengers are often enraged when air-hostesses or other employees bypass queues to enter the airport,” said a DIAL spokesman.
Also, steps are being taken to widen the “see-off” area. “The area where family and friends assemble to see off their near and dear ones is being revamped. We will have a space where friends and relatives can stand and not crowd the entrance gates,” the spokesman said.
Moreover, the back offices of all airlines are being shifted out of the main terminal building. They will be relocated at the waiting lounge opposite the international terminal building, an area hardly used by passengers.
The archaic X-ray machines that occupy a chunk of space in the building would also be junked as DIAL plans to introduce “inline baggage handling system” and check-in counters increased to 100.
On Monday, the Hindustan Times highlighted how the airport, in the midst of a massive facelift, has shrunk considerably, leading to serpentine queues that regularly delay flights. People are missing flights as they spend hours first battling a gut-crushing rush at the airport’s entrance and then the immigration counters during the peak travel season.
If you are planning to board an international flight you might want to reach the airport at least four hours before the departure time, or chances are you would return home, our report said.