Killing time inside an airport is a challenge most fliers face, particularly those travelling with children on international flights scheduled at odd hours.
For passengers who had their fill of duty- free shopping and eating out, Mumbai airport, last week, opened other avenues of entertainment. Two flight simulators — a Boeing 737 aircraft and a fighter jet — have been set up on Level 3 of the international terminal T2 for anybody interested in experiencing a cockpit and getting a sense of what pilots do with an aircraft mid-air.
“The response has been good. Some passengers said they would come in early to try the experience,” said a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson.
The service, which was introduced at Delhi airport’s T3 terminal last year and is also available at a few shopping malls, is priced between Rs250 and Rs1,950 for time slots spanning 15 minutes to an hour, said airport officials.
The Boeing simulator has a replica of the plane’s actual cockpit with all the controls and the option to land at 20,000 airports in different weather conditions. The 4D fighter jet simulator is an award-winning design used by the Canadian Air Force for its entry level cadet training. It also comes with an added feature of an air combat battle with enemy aircraft, said officials.
Mumbai airport’s plans are part of a global trend where big airports which double-up as a destination and not just a transit point, try to become entertainment destinations themselves. “Look at Singapore’s Changi international airport. It has a swimming pool that offers a warm dip to foreign tourists, particularly those arriving from cold countries. The whole experience priced at approximately 15-odd US dollars includes a drink, shower and a nice view of flights taking off,” said Milind Joshi, a Powai- based entrepreneur, who frequently travels between Mumbai and New York. He said the airport has a movie theatre and quick access to world famous casinos. “Even a sixhour-long stopover runs out in no time.”
Industry experts said the t rend also enabled private airports to generate revenue from non-traditional channels.