A series of problems including long queues, baggage belt failure and delayed flights reported
The full-scale transition of domestic operations of national carrier Air India to Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport here on Thursday got off to a turbulent start.
Long queues at the check-in counters, reported failure of a baggage belt and delayed flights were some of the problems that were encountered.
Air India shifted some of its domestic operations to T3 on October 31 but has been bogged down by trouble ever since. Jet Airways and its subsidiaries and Kingfisher are scheduled to make the transition of domestic operations to T3 on November 14.
T. Qureshi who was booked on flight IC 839 for Hyderabad said: “We had to wait nearly an hour and a half at the check-in counter. The system was slow and while airline staff was seen hurrying about there was no one to guide the passengers. The flight was inevitably delayed. A baggage belt had also failed to work.”
According to an Air India spokesperson, the delays were “consequential”. “Flights IC-264 to Kolkata and IC 801 to Chennai were delayed as they had arrived late in Delhi from their original destinations. Each of these flights was delayed by an hour or two,” the spokesperson claimed.
A statement by Air India said: “A total of 45 departures and 40 arrivals were handled from Terminal 3 till 6 p.m. without any glitches in the operating procedures and systems. About 6,300 passengers were booked to fly out of Delhi to various domestic destinations on the 45 flights. In the first phase of operations…Air India managed 100 per cent on-time performance. However, the second phase of operations with incoming aircraft from other bases saw some consequential delays due to late arrival of aircraft.”
The first domestic flight which departed from T3 at 4-45 a.m. was IC 867 to Goa while the first domestic flight to arrive was IC 601 from Mumbai at 7-55 a.m.
An airport source on the other hand said that the delays had taken place owing to “shortage of crew” in the flights.
“The ground handling staff also has to be efficient else there could be problems,” the source said.