Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Cramped airport lounge gets breathing space

Kolkata: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has chalked out a plan to increase the lounge space, which occupies barely 20% of the security hold area (SHA) at the integrated terminal, and add 100 more seats by November. With only 200 seats available and 12,000-odd flyers using the facility located at the ground level, passengers booked on flights parked in remote bays need to stand for up to an hour to board airline coaches that transport them to the aircraft.

Of the 186 domestic flights that take off from Kolkata daily, around 108 get to use aerobridges. The remaining 78 flights are parked in remote bays and have to be accessed through airline coaches.
With 14 aerobridges at the domestic wing already choc-o-bloc, the bus lounge with boarding gates 23 A, B, C, D, E and F is set to get more crowded as new flights are allotted to remote parking bays. Frequent flyers say the lounge already has more passengers than it should accommodate and brims over during morning, afternoon and evening rush hours.

“We are going in for the second phase of expansion at Kolkata airport to increase the number of aerobridges so that more passengers can board the flights directly from the terminal. But that will take at least four years. Till then, we have to do something to keep the airport’s growth momentum going. Since most of the new flights will be parked in remote parking bay and passengers will be transferred by airline coaches, the pressure on the ground floor bus lounge will increase. We are, therefore, taking some area from the arrival baggage reclaim area to not just add more seating space but also add four new gates to take the number of gates in the facility to 10 so that it can cater to more flights,” said airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee.
11/04/19 Subhro Niyogi, Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India