LGBI facility expansion remains a distant dream
Of late, much has been discussed about the huge inconveniences and time wastage caused to the passengers at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (LGBI) due long queues at every step – right from gaining entry into the terminal building onto the ridiculously few baggage X-Ray machines, inadequate check-in counters and further queues at the security check gate. Also, in the name of security, the visitors’ area has been drastically reduced to a small space near the arrival lounge that has inadequate seating arrangements and no access to the snack and food outlets inside the terminal building making a mockery of the endearing gesture of “seeing off” a guest. Painfully slow and seemingly inefficient CISF personnel, who are in charge of the airport’s security, add to the delays as passengers might require as much as quarter of an hour to just gain entry into the terminal and thereafter join the other serpentine queues. Many have expressed their frustration on social media as a slew of posts and comments flooded several pages highlighting the issue. It seems, the entire exercise of catching a flight nowadays is a 2-hour process and passengers need a 3-hour head start from the city to be “on time.”
Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju, who had also witnessed the inconveniences caused to the passengers at the airport during peak hours, took to Twitter to share his observations.
On 23rd January, Rijiju tweeted: "Passengers face inconveniences at Guwahati Airport during rush hour. I reviewed the whole issue with Airport Authority & Security Official. I reviewed the whole issue with Guwahati Airport Authority & Security Officials. Will take some steps to ease the passengers concerns."
Meanwhile, it was informed that Airports Authority of India has put several de-blockading measures in place in order to handle the rush of passengers and put a system in place that could address to the inconveniences caused. When asked about any kind of updates following Rijiju’s Tweet Airport Director, BK Tailong said that the airport witnesses 24.5% rise in passenger traffic at the LGBI airport in Borjhar every year. He also mentioned that apart from the peak hour rush that exists from 9 am to 11 am and from 3 pm to 5 pm, the airport is catering to 2.7 million passengers every year against its capacity of 1.5 million.
"Several measures have been taken over the past few months in order to take care of the rise in passenger traffic and address the inconveniences caused to the passengers. To name a few, we have introduced an additional baggage X-ray machine and put it at a strategic location. Earlier, there were three baggage X-ray machines, one of which were shared by two top airlines and became a prime cause of passenger rush. Also the X-ray machine of Air India has been replaced with an upgraded version that has helped in reducing the queue of people,” Airport Director, LGBI, BK Tailong mentioned to G Plus.
He also informed that queue managers have been stationed to assist passengers adding that 30 flexible check-in counters have been put in place. “We have put in place what we call flexible check-in counters that will facilitate passengers of any airline so that the load is taken off from the check-in counters where there are more people. We have also placed around 24 chairs near the departure gate that has recently been upgraded to two gates. Moreover, we are trying to mitigate the inundation of passengers to a minimum. While the over-crowding initially took place at the departure gates, it now takes place at the security check. However, people have to be patient as it is a very important measure for a hypersensitive airport. It is also very evident that although the queues might be long, it does not take too long for a passenger up to the time when one boards a flight," the airport director said.
Informing about other measures that has been taken in order to ease the rush and help the passengers, two help desks have also been introduced, separate rooms have been set up for children and the toilets are being modified. The airport will soon witness several other modifications as an escalator and an elevator will also be placed within the premises of the airport.
"Proposals on further modifications have been sent to the headquarters. Two more aerobridges are being built and are likely to be commissioned in the next six months. The airport currently has two aerobridges and the additional two will facilitate smooth entry and exit of passengers from the terminals to the aircraft and vice-versa. We have also proposed three more X-ray machines which are likely to arrive by the end of February and also to expand the security holding by 260 square meters. Moreover, 155 additional sanction of CISF personnel has also been approved," he said. Besides these, several welfare measures have been put in place.
The airport director said he had apprised the union minister about the measures taken. "The minister was satisfied and appreciated our efforts. My aim is to develop LGBI as a true international airport," Tailong mentioned.
G Plus was also apprised about the introduction of a new airport terminal that will be spread over an area of 80,000 square metres in comparison to the 19,000 square metres of the present terminal building. The new terminal will be constituted within an estimated cost of Rs 1,000 crores. The tendering process of the project has already begun.
As many as 65 aircraft arrive and depart from the airport everyday with the traffic pegged at an average of 6,700 passengers apart from the private charters.
The airport serves around 2.7 million passengers every year against its capacity of 1.5 million.
LGBI witnesses a rise of 24.5% rise in passenger traffic every year.
Several initiatives have been taken in order to ease the passenger rush that includes stationing of queue managers to assist passengers, adding 30 flexible check-in counters, doubling the departure entrance strength and additional baggage X-ray machines among several others.
The airport will also witness major modifications in the recent future with the addition of 3 more baggage X-ray machines, escalators, elevators, two aerobridges and expanding the security holding by 260 square meters.
Tender process of the new airport building has begun. The new terminal will cover an area of 80,000 square metres against the present 19,000 square metres. The estimated cost of the terminal will be around Rs 1,000 crores
Additional sanction of 155 CISF personnel has also been approved that will add to the present strength of 215
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