Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Facilities don’t fly at Chennai airport: Passengers’ verdict

The city airport may be recording a gradual increase in footfalls, but very few passengers seem to be enjoying the experience inside the terminals.

The experience of using the airport declined in the April-May-June period compared to the previous three months, shows an airports service quality survey conducted among passengers by Airports Council International. (ASQ-ACI).

While the overall experience marginally improved, there is a decline in rating under 18 of the 33 categories surveyed.

The areas rated low compared to the previous three months include connectivity to the airport, parking, value for money for parking, baggage trolleys, wait time at check in, helpful staff, easy flight connections, restaurants, Wi-Fi, lounges, washrooms, ATMs and others. The condition was worse in April-May-June 2019, during the pre-Covid-19 days, when availability of washrooms and safety were the only parameters with a good rating.

A few forex counters had to close because patronage for international travel was too low. Lack of ATMs impacted flyers soon after the paid RT-PCR test was made mandatory for those returning from abroad.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) says the pandemic and ongoing expansion work are the reasons for the low ratings. “On a scale of five, the difference is not much. The overall experience has improved and is not negative,” claimed an airport official.

Though there is no clear yardstick for the size of amenities that needs to be installed for an airport that has been handling 20million passengers per year, food and beverages and retail units should be revenue-driven and targeted at different categories of passengers. 

04/08/21 V Ayyappan/Times of India

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