The government on Wednesday said it had taken steps to ease congestion and chaos at the departure gates at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, and that these steps had resulted in a reduction in waiting times and delays for irate passengers. The ministry of civil aviation tweeted this morning to say waiting time at boarding and entry gate checkpoints had decreased, and that movement of passengers through the airport had become smoother.
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List of measures announced by the ministry of civil aviation:
1. Real-time data on waiting times at entry gates: The ministry said it had installed electronic display boards showing how long passengers had to wait at each of the Delhi airport’s terminal entry gates. These, it is expected, will help passengers move to gates with lesser waiting times and thereby ease congestion at other gates.
2. Increased security personnel: More security personnel, including those from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have been assigned to each of these gates – up to six per gate – to help in smooth scanning of tickets and IDs before passengers enter the terminal.
3. A ‘count meter’ inside the airport: This, the government, hopes will help airport officials identify crowded areas in real-time and move to divert resources to address problems. CCTV cameras and a command centre have also been set up for similar purposes.
4. Four X-ray machines: Machines used to screen check-in baggage have been increased.
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The Delhi airport has witnessed massive congestion over the past week, leading to complaints from passengers and embarrassing photos and videos circulating on social media.
This prompted the government to summon the chief executive officer of the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and also union aviation ministry – Jyotiraditya Scindia – to hold an inspection of the airport’s processes for passengers’ baggage and security checks.
Airlines had advised passengers to reach the airport at least three-and-a-half hours prior to departure (for domestic flights) and carry a single piece of hand baggage – no more than seven kg in weight – to help expedite the boarding process.
‘Smooth passenger movement…’
Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning the Delhi airport tweeted a piece of ‘good news’ for passengers, sharing pictures of drastically less busy and crowded check-in and security lines.
The airport said waiting times had been brought down to less than eight minutes for international passengers and offered a ‘smart tip’ – carry fewer hand bags.
The airport has been sharing hourly updates on the congestion situation, but these have been criticized by other Twitter users, who pointed out the images still showed large crowds but from a distance – with empty space between the camera and the lines – to make it look like it was not quite as crowded.