Friday, May 17, 2019

Waiting in Bagdogra wings: more facilities

Siliguri: The Bagdogra airport will get more check-in counters and luggage conveyer belts as part of a plan drawn up by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to boost infrastructure at the facility and keep pace with soaring passenger numbers.

The flier count has increased to around 2.5 million annually and over 30 flights operate from the airport near Siliguri every day. “We plan to introduce four more check-in counters along with conveyers to expedite the check-in process. The new counters will be opened shortly,” said a source in the AAI.

At present, there are 16 check-in counters on the ground floor of the two-storied terminal where long queues of passengers in the departure lounge are a common sight.

This happens because the existing building is meant to handle around 400 passengers per hour but draws over 1,000. The rush is particularly intense during the afternoons when most of the flights arrive or depart from Bagdogra.

“Right from the entrance of the airport to the terminal building, it takes a lot of time these days. This is because with the increase in the number of flights, vehicular traffic has also increased at the airport. Even after reaching the entrance of the departure lounge, one has to stand in a queue to get to the check-in counters. We hope the queues would become shorter when the new counters are opened,” said Prithvi Dasgupta, a frequent flier.

An AAI official, told about the overcrowding at the airport, said they were trying to make best of the available space. “Unless we get land from the state and a new terminal is built, all we can do is to use every possible space in the existing building. Setting up new check-in counters is a part of the plan,” he said.
17/05/19 Avijit Sinha/Telegraph
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