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Rly bails out air passengers

The strike by employees of Airports Authority of India (AAI), which has thrown flight schedules out of gear since Wednesday, has pushed a section of air travellers towards travelling by rail, forcing the administration to add more coaches.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2006 01:38 IST

The strike by employees of Airports Authority of India (AAI), which has thrown flight schedules out of gear since Wednesday, has pushed a section of air travellers towards travelling by rail, forcing the administration to add more coaches. Railway sources estimate that passenger traffic leaving from Mumbai has gone up by more than 40 per cent in the past two days.

“Usually, at this time of the year, there is 15 per cent space in all trains, but for the past two days, all trains are packed to capacity. A large chunk of the air traffic has shifted to the railways,” said Shailendra Kumar, chief public relations manager, Western Railway.

Asked if more trains would be run, Kumar said running extra trains was not possible , so extra coaches have been added to accommodate the increasing passengers. “There are no seats in trains like Mumbai-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and most express trains, but it will be difficult to get the exact figure of increase in passenger traffic,” he added.

“Recently, we launched a berth upgradation scheme. But tickets are not available under that scheme too,” Kumar added.

Rajneesh Singh, a passenger stranded at the domestic airport, said, “I want to go to Kolkata, but am stuck at the airport due to the strike. I approached the railways but did not get any tickets as all bookings were full.”

First Published: Feb 03, 2006 01:38 IST