Calcutta airport to fall silent
Calcutta airport will soon fall silent, officials said.
This does not mean one can hear a pin drop but there will no longer be non-stop announcements, as it happens now in the airport’s security hold area.
Only emergency announcements will be made once the security hold area falls silent. The check-in and arrival areas became silent a few years ago.
At a meeting with airlines on Friday, the Calcutta airport authorities decided to take steps from September to curb announcements, following in the footsteps of the airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai.
An official at the Calcutta airport said a silent airport was not entirely a noise-free compound.
“The idea is to reduce noise pollution by stopping airport-wide announcements through the public address system, which now continue almost non-stop in the security hold area. Only important announcements will be made through the public address system, such as boarding gate change or sudden disruption in flight schedule because of weather,” the official said.
“At a meeting with airlines today we discussed how ours can be made a silent airport. From September, we’ll start implementing this by improving the signage and having more flight information display,” airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee said on Friday.
At the city airport, there once used to be announcements across the terminal. The practice was stopped in the check-in and arrival areas a few years ago.
Bhattacharjee said work was on to install flight information display boards at all 26 boarding gates. These boards will provide information about departure and boarding time and also if there is any change in boarding gate.
“We will first stop public announcements at the boarding gates where the boards are installed. Gradually, announcements will be stopped at all other gates. Then we can put up sign boards declaring that this is a silent airport,” Bhattacharjee said.
“We have welcomed the proposal of the airport director. But we have also asked for more signage so a passenger has no problem reaching the boarding gate,” said Anushila Chaturvedi, chairperson, Airline Operators’ Committee, Calcutta airport.
She said the airlines had proposed a trial run with dummy passengers to find out whether one could have a hassle-free passage from the entrance to the terminal till the boarding gate without the help of announcements.
The airlines proposed small booths at the boarding gates where announcements for passengers not showing up could be made. It will be heard only at that gate.
Fliers at international airports were earlier greeted by a cacophony of announcements, at times one drowning out another, by airlines.
Things have now changed at many airports across the world.
At Mumbai airport, an official said, the “on-time performance of flights” has improved after it became a silent zone.
“Amid the cacophony many passengers would miss the announcements meant for them and show up at the boarding gate late. That would delay flights. If a call goes to a passenger’s mobile phone or a targeted announcement is made about a passenger, he or she would not miss it,” an official at the Mumbai airport said.
At the Calcutta airport, officials said the public address system would be used to play music at a low volume.