Sgr Airport terminal building ‘not up to the mark’
Stakeholders Pitch For More Facilities, Aerobridges To Ease Out Congestion
Srinagar, July 3: In the wake of substantial inflow of tourists to Kashmir from different parts of India and abroad, the Srinagar ‘International’ Airport is in need dire of expansion, primarily to ease out congestion in and outside the terminal building of the aerodrome.
According to the aviation experts, the Terminal Building, which was constructed a few years back, should undergo certain major changes for the convenience of flyers and handling of the offices and paraphernalia of all the airlines in a smooth manner.
“This building seems to have been constructed with a view to handle not more than 8 to 10 flights per day. This time the figure of flights operating daily from the Srinagar Airport is 19. So the building naturally calls for more facilities and expansion to effectively handle the inflow of more passengers,” said a Civil Aviation official, wishing anonymity.
He said the first change that requires to be made is to extend the entrance gate of the building. “The building has just one entrance gate for flyers of 19 airlines. Since there is a bar on operation of flights (from sunrise to 3.30 PM), hundreds of passengers are to be lined up outside this gate at a particular time, causing terrible congestion at the spot,” the official said. “Since this is an international airport, the entrance gate needs to be expanded to the extent that each airline should have a separate entry gate. Alongside the entrance gate, each airline should be provided with at least two X-ray machines for baggage checking and adequate manpower from the security side for manual frisking.”
Since the booking and inquiry counters have been established on two sides of the entrance gate, observers believe they can be shifted to a proper location elsewhere.
The Integrated Terminal Building was inaugurated on 14 February 2009. Srinagar is a defence airport where the Airport Authority of India (AAI) maintains a Civil Enclave.
Inside the Terminal Building, the observers believe, the AAI must provide a separate counter and conveyor belt (which carries baggage) to each airline. “This would reduce the congestion inside the building and the ensued noise,” said an airline official, insisting not to be named. “Accordingly, the manpower can be increased in the Security Hold Area for easy flow of flyers. Though some more check-in counters have been established in the area recently, but more are required to be put in place.”
This time, only a couple of conveyor belts are in place at the Airport while there are only two aerobridges functional.
“How can the two aerobridges help in handling passengers of 19 airlines? There must be at least 10 aerobridges installed for the convenience of passengers and airlines,” said another airline official.
He said the announcement system at the airport should also be set right while the officials must check how the birds are making entry into the terminal building. “This is many a time proving very embarrassing,” the official said.
While the airline officials hail the Srinagar-based AAI Director for taking ‘effective steps’ in addressing the congestion, they believe a lot more needs be done. “Till the much-needed staggering of flights takes place, it is important for the AAI to convene a high-level meeting and get the Terminal Building examined in view of the rising inflow of airlines. The present terminal building seems to have a lot of engineering flaws which require a thorough probe. It has been spread over a large area, but is not serving the required purpose,” they said. “The building should be in tune with international standards, as specified in norms so that the flyers feel comfortable in having visited the Srinagar Airport. Otherwise, the congestion is giving a very bad impression about the place, where passengers complain of inconvenience due to fewer facilities.”
The cry for changes in the terminal building is also getting louder in the wake of possibility of the revival of international flights from the Srinagar Airport and also the lifting of bar on the flights operation in near future.
“This time the international terminal of the airport is being used for domestic arrivals and departure of chartered flights. This is just a temporary measure to ease out congestion. The AAI should step in to examine the demands so that the airport is really of international standards,” airport officials said.
NO WAITING HALL
Meanwhile, outside the airport, scores of people are seen waiting to receive their passengers. In absence of a big waiting hall, people have to sit on roadside or in the ground. Though there is a small waiting hall in the Parking Area, but that has been established at a significant distance from the airport arrival slot. “It is not only about the people who visit the airport to receive their passengers, but about the passengers too who visit the airport early for security reasons. They too are made to wait outside on road or ground for hours along with their baggage. This is not seen anywhere,” said Ghautam, a passenger.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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