With the two terminals nearly 800 metres apart, the lack of a travelator is bound to affect passengers

The new domestic and international terminals at Chennai airport were constructed at a cost of over Rs. 2,000 crore, but still do not have travelators – moving walkways to transport people.

With the two terminals nearly 800 metres apart, the lack of travelator is bound to affect passengers, especially those on transit, said an official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Though a new travelator was part of the original airport expansion project, it was temporarily dropped owing to cost escalations.

“The installation and procurement of a travelator will cost around Rs. 50 crore. It’s not that we have decided against getting one – the purchase has been pushed as the costs of other aspects of the airport expansion project have gone up. Getting and installing a travelator will probably not take place until early next year since the necessary clearances for this facility have not yet come through,” said another official.

Initially, the cost of the expansion project was estimated to be Rs. 1,808 crore but this eventually grew to Rs. 2,015 crore.

“In spite of spending over Rs. 2,000 crore, if we don’t have a travelator in place for passengers, it is a shame. In fact, the ramp inside the airport was constructed with Y-shaped pillars instead of the conventional vertical pillars to make way for this facility. Most major cities have travelators. Imagine a first-time flier accidentally going to the international terminal instead of the domestic – she may then have to take a painfully long walk to get to the right place,” he said.

Though there is a travaletor connecting the domestic and international terminals at the airside of the airport, it spans a distance of just 150 metres each from domestic terminal to the international and vice versa. It was installed between bay 29 of the international terminal and bay 28 of the domestic in 2009 at a cost of Rs. 4.2 crore.

There are golf carts too, to transport passengers, but they cannot cater to all passengers as the airport handles around 30,000 domestic and international passengers per day, the official said.

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