Monday, February 19, 2018

New international hall at airport may take 3 years to open

Chennai: The arrival hall of the international terminal may not be commissioned for three years till a new integrated terminal is constructed at Chennai airport. The building, lying unused for the past five years, has only two baggage conveyors and one ramp to the basement baggage area which means that the hall will have to be used simultaneously with the existing old building to handle the passenger flow. But this is not working out as customs, immigration and airlines have refused to split their staff between two arrival buildings.
An official said the terminal could be used only after the integrated facility proposed is completed. “When that building is ready, we are thinking of moving domestic operations here and push international arrival in the integrated terminal. As it will have facilities to handle domestic and international passengers, we will shift flights based on the need for space,” said an official.
The integrated terminal could take three years to get complete. Tender has been awarded to pull down the old domestic terminal so that an integrated one could be built. Work is expected to start in three months.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been trying to encourage airlines to use the building. But repeated attempts failed as airlines fear that there will be delays and congestion as the terminal does not have space to handle bags, customs and immigration checks if 1,000 passengers arrive at the same time.
An airline official said: “Airlines use wide-body aircraft that can accommodate 250 to 300 people on international routes. Flights land back-to-back during peak hours at night. It will be impossible to handle the crowd at the new arrival terminal. This was the main reason for objecting to the opening of the terminal.”
19/02/18 Times of India