Passengers bound for Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai reaching the Visakhapatnam airport after 8 a.m. are getting jittery on seeing the long queues at the baggage screening, check-in, and security check counters.

As many as four flights land between 8.30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and all of them are big flights. Around 400 passengers are flying out on an average during the period on any given day. For instance, passengers carrying laptops are likely to face a problem identifying once past the security screening, due to shortage of staff. The passengers are asked to identify their laptops from a large pile at the end of the screening and there is a danger of passengers collecting the wrong laptop either wantonly or otherwise.

It is learnt that the shortage of manpower and check in counters is adding to the woes of passengers. A similar problem is being encountered during the evenings also. There are 114 Central Industrial Security Force personnel at present. Their duties include access control, checking hand baggage, and anti-hijacking operations.

The new terminal building at the airport became operational in 2009 and traffic has increased manifold over the years. The authorities had sought provision of 147 additional CISF staff a year ago but the file is yet to be cleared by the government.

There are three security check booths – two for men and one for women – at the new airport building. The shortage of frisking machines is also adding to the delays, according to passengers.

“We are trying to minimise the waiting time at the counters by arranging an extra booth for male passengers during the rush hours despite shortage of manpower.

The government has recently agreed to sanction additional CISF staff,” Airport Director K. Srinivasa Rao told The Hindu when his attention was drawn to the problem.

He also attributed the long queues at the counters to passengers checking-in at the airport at the eleventh hour.

Flight to Port Blair

Here’s good news for people travelling to Port Blair. Air India will soon introduce a flight to Port Blair. AI is already operating from Delhi to Port Blair via Bhubaneswar six days a week. “We sought diversion of that flight at least twice a week via Visakhapatnam,” Mr. Srinivasa Rao said.

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