First, it was the new domestic terminal that had a ramp problem – a faulty baggage ramp that gave airport officials trouble for weeks. Now, it’s the new international terminal’s turn – it has just one ramp leading to the baggage-handling area, and this may cause problems, airport officials said.
“While the new domestic terminal has two ramps – one each for the entry and exit of the battery-operated vehicles (known as tugs) that carry the bags, the international terminal will have just one,” said an official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The movement of the tugs may be slower, as with only one ramp, both entering and exiting tugs will vie for space. Operators will also have to be extra careful while handling the tugs within the limited space, he said.
“In wide-bodied aircrafts, there are around 16 containers of baggage. It will be difficult for the tugs to shift them quickly. Instead of 30-40 minutes, passengers may have to wait for nearly an hour to collect their baggage. We will realise the extent of this problem when the terminal becomes operational” the official said.
Officials of Creative Group, the company that designed the new terminals, said they had provided only one ramp at the international terminal due to space constraints.
“We had to make do with the limited land provided to us for the terminal. The ramp, which is about 10 metres wide, has been designed according to international standards,” said a company official.
Airport director H.S. Suresh said, “One ramp will suffice and will be able to handle the baggage load. There are no issues with the ramp as safety measures have been put in place,” he added.
Airport sources also indicated that the new international terminal may be thrown open for use only in the third week of June.
While at present 30 officers have been sanctioned for immigration, manpower is yet to be sanctioned for customs. “There may be a 30-40 per cent manpower shortage in immigration, customs and other departments. We need 60 officers in immigration but so far, only 30 have been sanctioned. In customs, we may need around 120 people. We have already asked for additional manpower and once we get that, the new terminal will be opened,” Mr. Suresh added.
At first, departures will begin with a couple of flights, with the existing manpower. Only when the there is adequate staff strength, will the new terminal begin full-fledged departure and arrival operations,” Mr. Suresh said.