Airport swamped by flier flow - Surge in festive season traffic shows up dismal state of facilities

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 15.10.07

With the festival season triggering an increase in flow of passenger traffic, the bottlenecks at Calcutta airport have become apparent once again.

Long queues at the entrance, tug-of-war over baggage trolleys, space crunch in the terminal and lack of seating arrangements in the lounge — holiday travellers had a harrowing time at the airport on Sunday.

“I never had an experience like this at the airport. They should make provisions to handle more passengers,” said Delhi-bound S. Mukherjee, pointing to the long queues outside the airport.

According to the authorities, the airport handled around 10,000 passengers on Sunday — at least 2,000 more than on any other day. Compared to 2006, the festive season traffic has increased by around 20 per cent this autumn.

But with the facilities failing to keep pace with rising passenger traffic, there was a space crunch everywhere, especially in the domestic terminal.

With just one entrance to the terminal, passengers had to stand in a long queue at peak time while Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel checked the tickets of passengers and visitors. “There was not a single empty seat in the lounge,” said another passenger.

With most of the flights in the next two weeks 90 per cent booked, the situation will worsen, cautioned an airline official.

In the past few months, the airport authorities have increased the number of security check-in counters and have added another entry point to airline check-in counters, besides raising the number of airline check-in counters. But all these capacity-augmenting measures were not enough to smoothen the flow of passengers.

“We are trying to cope with the rush. The situation has improved in the security hold area, where we have recently added two check-in counters,” said airport director V. K. Monga. The authorities are also getting more chairs in the lounge to bridge the demand-supply mismatch.