Complete lockdown | Flyer count doubles as thousands leave from Chennai airport

Additional space created at the airport to facilitate faster movement of passengers

June 18, 2020 11:59 pm | Updated 11:59 pm IST - CHENNAI

Passengers queueing up outside the Chennai airport ahead of the complete lockdown to be enforced from June 19. Photo: Special arrangement

Passengers queueing up outside the Chennai airport ahead of the complete lockdown to be enforced from June 19. Photo: Special arrangement

Hundreds of people have been leaving the city through various flights in the last two days ahead of the lockdown.

Chennai airport’s passenger traffic has doubled since Wednesday. “We used to have about 3,500 passengers travelling in and out of the airport every day for the last three weeks but on Wednesday we had about 6,500 passengers and of them, nearly 4,000 persons are departing passengers. On Thursday too, we estimate about 6,500 passengers would have departed and arrived in the city,” a source said. Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials say a majority of the flyers had been travelling to cities like Delhi, Guwahati and Kolkata now.

“These are not just workers. We have seen plenty of families, senior citizens and working professionals too. They may have been stranded in the city and are leaving now. May be, because of the lockdown, we are witnessing a reduced number of persons arriving in the city,” an official said. An additional space had to be created to speed up checking and move the queues quickly on Thursday, sources said.

In-bound traffic falls

The number of persons arriving in the city has been quite less too; there have been only around 1,000-1,500 coming to the city for a few days now. The arriving passengers are from several cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Madurai, Tiruchi and Kolkata. For the next two weeks, the passenger traffic may dip again owing to the lockdown.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of flights this week. Earlier, there would be only 45-50 flights a day but the number has shot up to 64-66 a day now. There are some more flights to districts within the State like Thoothukudi, Madurai and Tiruchi.

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