Economy

Chennai’s new airport terminal set to take off this Friday

T.E. Raja Simhan |Ashwini Phadnis | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

BL20_04_AIRPORT | Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

Phased opening to see arrival of domestic passengers first

Chennai’s new and much-delayed airport terminal will get off to a halting start when it begins operating this Friday.

The new terminal will receive only arriving passengers and that too only on domestic flights.

The use of the international terminal has been held up due to another glitch in a long list of problems – the shortage of customs and immigration officials.

Passengers on the Friday morning flights of the Chennai-based low cost airline SpiceJet or GoAir could be among the first to get an experience of the glass-fronted modern terminal.

All five airlines – Jet Airways, SpiceJet, GoAir, Indigo and Air India – will start using it from Friday for their domestic arrivals, Chennai Airport Director H.S. Suresh told Business Line .

Domestic departures will continue in the old terminal for at least a week. The one-week gap is to ensure that all the processes and systems are in place and it is not uncommon for airports to start operations in such a phased manner.

The decision to upgrade Chennai airport was taken in 2007 and a string of factors from land acquisition, power supply, delay in tendering for food and beverage stalls and, recently, a controversy over ramp design have held up the project. The new domestic and international terminals have a combined capacity of 1.33 lakh sq mt.

Ramp glitch

The handling capacity will increase to 16 million domestic passengers and seven million international passengers from the present six million (domestic) and three million (international). Earlier this month, there was a controversy over the ramp used for baggage movement, which required the use of battery operated tugs that airlines felt were too expensive to rent.

The use of diesel operated tractors was prohibited since the terminal is a green building. Finally, the Airports Authority of India prevailed on the tug operator Bhadra International to provide the service at a lower rate.

Two years ago, the Chennai airport was ranked as low as 153 in the Airport Service Quality survey by the Airports Council International in Asia.

Now, there is a ray of hope that it will be in the top 100 once the modern terminal starts full fledged operations.

raja.simhan@thehindu.co.in

ashwini.phadnis@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 19, 2013
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