Inclusive steps at Calcutta airport
The city airport is set to be friendlier towards fliers with reduced mobility with the authorities planning to set up dedicated terminal entry gates and baggage and security check-in counters for them.
Officials said a path from the entrance to the terminal till the boarding area would be delineated for the passengers to ensure they travel the minimum distance.
One gate in each of the two sections of the terminal (domestic and international) will be earmarked for fliers with restricted mobility.
The check-in island closest to the gate in each section will have a counter from where boarding passes of all airlines will be issued to the passengers. From there the fliers will proceed towards the nearest security check-in counter.
“We hope to implement the plan in eight months. Some of the technicalities are being discussed with the airlines,” airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya said on Friday.
As for the counters from where boarding passes of all airlines will be issued, Bhattacharya said: “The airlines have to prepare a roster for this. The counters will have a common user facility.”
Calcutta airport lacks some basic facilities for passengers with reduced mobility. Passengers in need of wheelchairs often allege that they have to wait for long after getting off their cars in front of the terminal building before the airline concerned sends a wheelchair.
There are phones at every gate in the departure area where a list of numbers of the airline help desks is displayed. But passengers often say calls to many of the numbers go unanswered.
The airport also lacks facilitation counters and adequate signage for passengers with reduced mobility.
An airport official said a counter would be set up at each of the two entry gates to help the passengers.
“The counters will be at a lower height for the convenience of passengers using wheelchairs.... The check-in counters they will be using will be at a lower level, too,” the official said.
There will also be Braille signage for the visually impaired passengers.
“Visually impaired passengers should be able to enter the terminal and board their flights on their own,” said the official.
Specially trained people will be deployed to assist passengers with hearing and speech impairment.