Passengers spot flocks resting in metal trusses at new departure terminal

Don’t be surprised to encounter a flight of birds before flying out of the city from the new airport terminal.

While some passengers have spotted bird droppings, some others have come across flocks of pigeons at the new domestic departure terminal of the Chennai airport.

Gopal Madhavan, a frequent flyer who travelled to Mumbai recently, said, “Last week, I saw about four or five pigeons on the departure level. Nowhere else do you find birds inside the terminal of an airport. I think they were nesting in the metal trusses that run across the terminal.”

An official of Airports Authority of India (AAI) said they had tried, unsuccessfully, to drive the birds away from the terminal. “We tried in many ways to shoo the pigeons away but nothing has worked so far. There were some openings in the building earlier through which the birds may have entered,” said a senior official of AAI.

He said an NGO had been contacted to address the issue at the earliest. “The NGO will place cages at various places and try to attract the birds. Once captured, they will be taken someplace farther than 500 km and set free,” he said.

The pigeons are just a part of the airport’s woes. D. Sudhakar Reddy of Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) said he had observed many deficiencies in the new terminal. For instance, it is a long walk for passengers from the arrival gate to the baggage collection area, he said.

“The metal trusses and chairs have already gathered dust due to lack of maintenance. Nobody uses chairs with chrome-plated armrests these days. Also, it is a pity there are no in-line baggage scanners despite over Rs. 2,000 crore having been spent on this terminal. There is nothing awe-inspiring about it,” he said.

There was an urgent need to call for tenders from operators to handle the airport better, Mr. Reddy said.

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