Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Delhi: Taking a flight out of T3? Brace for long queues, peak-hour chaos

New Delhi: Passengers taking early morning flights out of IGI airport's T3 these days face a race against time to board their planes on time. A sudden rush in the number of flyers after IndiGo and SpiceJet moved some of their domestic flights here and other airlines that operate from T3 increased their connections has led to serpentine queues at security checks. Sources say the CISF is now screening 16,000 domestic passengers in morning peak hours of 6-10 am at T3 - up from 12,000 a year ago.

In fact, the mad scramble to avoid missing flights begins right from the base of the ramp leading to T3 departure with a bumper-to-bumper line of vehicles slowly moving to dropping passengers. The aviation ministry tweeted last Friday: "SpiceJet and IndiGo have taken over the slots vacated by Jet Airways at IGIA's T3. However, the number of flights they have shifted to T3 is far less than the number Jet earlier operated from T3. Issue of traffic jam on the ramp is due to heightened security alert." But security sources say while the number of flights may not have gone beyond Jet (whose planes had a business class) days, aircraft used by low cost carriers (LCCs) seat more passengers in all-economy configuration.
And they blame “bunching” of newly added flights in morning and evening peak hours for the sudden rush. The combined result: more passengers now then in Jet days. “The correct comparison is the number of passengers flying out of T3 and not the number of flights being operated,” said a source.
The Delhi airport claims “95% of the passengers clear security in less than 10 minutes”. A claim not agreed by peak-hour domestic passengers. Amit Singh, a Delhibased exporter, last week nearly missed his flight to Bengaluru. “I reached the base of T3 ramp at 6 am for the 8 am flight. Due to traffic congestion, got dropped at the ramp at 6.10 am and entered the terminal at 6.20 am. After checking in, I joined the serpentine security queue at 6.40 am. It took almost 40 minutes to get past security and I got frantic calls from the airline. I ran to the boarding gate, the very last one on domestic side,” he said.
20/11/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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