With the trial run of the new domestic terminal at the Chennai Airport going through smoothly on Monday, airport officials said the idea was to have regular passengers with baggage go through the usual procedures and use the new terminal, so that any problems could be identified.
A Kingfisher Airlines flight carrying 150 passengers from Mumbai landed at the new domestic terminal at 1.30 p.m., and between 2.15 p.m. and 2.30 p.m., most passengers had checked out, according to an official. Ten minutes were spent on serving refreshments to the passengers. Bus coaches were arranged for by the authorities, to take the passengers to the old terminal, where their relatives and friends were waiting for them. The response from the passengers, they say, was encouraging.
A routine security check was conducted before the operation commenced. An official said the new terminal was likely to become operational in June. Officials and project engineers from the Airport Authority of India (AAI), officials from Terminal Management, personnel from the State Police Department and CISF Personnel, among others were present during the trial, according to officials.
The new domestic terminal, located adjacent to the existing domestic terminal, will be able to handle 3,300 passengers per hour and a total of 10 million passengers per annum. This arrival-cum-departure terminal will be more spacious and better equipped with more check-in counters and x-ray machines, among other facilities.
The new building is a five-level structure: basement, arrival, mezzanine, departure and VIP levels, with a total area of 72,614 square metres, with seven gates, 52 check-in counters and eight counters for e-ticketing. An exclusive car parking facility for passengers has been provided for the new terminal.A departure trial will also be conducted before the terminal is inaugurated.
Sanjay, a passenger who arrived by the Kingfisher flight from Mumbai, said: “It was a pleasant surprise. I never expected to see the new terminal. It looks very good and completely different from the old one. We were not told that we were going to walk out of the new terminal. I have been seeing the new terminal under construction every time I flew from Chennai. Today, I used it.” M. Neelesh, another passenger said: “I have seen Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad airports, but this is really impressive. It is a matter of pride that this is not a public-private partnership airport terminal, but one completely run by the AAI.”