Nearly 14,000 passengers expected to use facility on D-day; airlines to levy user development fee

Come Sunday, nearly 14,000 passengers travelling by 45 domestic flights will begin using the newly-inaugurated domestic terminal at Chennai airport from Sunday.

As 41 Spicejet flights and four GoAir ones commence using the new terminal building, passengers will have a trade-off: a more spacious terminal, better restrooms and parking facilities come with a stiff user development fee.

The eco-friendly building will have natural lighting through the day and the lights will be switched on only after dark.

The new terminal is provided with seven aerobridges which will provide easy exit for arriving or departing passengers. Once they come out of the aerobridge, they can take an escalator or the staircase to reach the ground level without any difficulty.

The wide open space in front of the terminal has been earmarked for car parking. The space in front of the old terminal can accommodate just 600 vehicles at a time, whereas the new facility has space for 1,200 vehicles.

This will help reduce congestion of vehicles at the airport, said an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official.

User development fee

Airlines have been notified to collect user development fee on all tickets bought on or after March 10 from departing passengers in both the domestic and international sectors. The rates will be Rs. 166 for a passenger in the domestic sector and Rs. 667 for an outgoing passenger in the international sector, said the AAI official.

Increased passenger capacity

The new facility is designed to handle a higher number of arriving and departing passengers. The terminal can handle five million passengers a year and nearly 14,000 passengers a day in both the arrival and departure areas, the official said.

Also, the peak-hour passenger capacity in the old domestic terminal building has been enhanced to 3,300 from 2,000.

Enhanced features

A common complaint from passengers is the poor quality of restrooms in the old terminal building. The AAI has upgraded facilities in the new building and also equipped restrooms with a ‘baby changing station’ — a wall-mounted, folding table that passengers can use to change their babies’ diapers.

Work on modification of the ramp at the new terminal will also be completed in a couple of days. Once that is over, the AAI has plans to conduct a trial run on the modified facility on Friday, said H.S. Suresh, airport director.

Originally, he said, the ramp was constructed taking into account the use of battery-operated vehicles by the ground-handling agency. But, many of them continued to use old vehicles. Therefore, the AAI asked them to replace the old ones with battery-operated vehicles. The airlines have asked for six months’ time to switch to the new system, he said.

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