With less than half the required number of luggage trolleys for an airport its size, Chennai airport is suffering from an extreme shortage that leaves passengers with the choice of either waiting it out or lugging their heavy bags themselves.

The shortage of luggage trolleys has affected both the international and domestic terminals at Chennai airport. Most passengers who arrive have to wait for a considerable time for the trolleys.

The problem has remained unsolved for the past six months, said a senior official of Airports Authority of India (AAI). Nearly 2,500 trolleys are now available, but they are used at both the domestic and international terminals.

A majority of them are defective due to lack of maintenance.

Explaining the condition of the trolleys, another official said the actual requirement of trolleys at Chennai airport is 5,000. They also need to be checked periodically for defects.

The maintenance of trolleys at Chennai airport was earlier given to a private firm. The trolleys carried advertisements, which earned revenue, which was shared between AAI and the private firm.

About a year ago, the contract ended, after which, not many showed interest in advertising on the trolleys.

Due to this, the private company gave up the contract, resulting in the non-maintenance of trolleys.

When contacted, H.S. Suresh, director of Chennai airport, said as there is no contractor to take up maintenance, AAI itself is taking care of the trolleys. The repairs are carried out in the motor transport workshop inside the cargo complex at Meenambakkam.

AAI spends money on both the maintenance and retrieval work, he said. “The trolleys have to be distributed from the AAI headquarters in New Delhi. We expect more trolleys to come to Chennai airport soon,” he said.