After a long time, all the immigration counters at Chennai airport are now functional as more staff have been deployed. This is likely to reduce the waiting time for air passengers.
According to officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), there are 56 immigration counters at the international terminal of the city, out of which, 34 are in arrival and 22 in departure. “After many years, all the counters are manned as of today. This should bring down the queues to some extent and bring some relief to passengers,” an official said.
For years, international passengers had to spend hours waiting to clear the immigration process and officials constantly blamed it on shortage of immigration staff and bunching of flights.
While more staff have been deployed now, the problem of bunching of flights — multiple large aircraft landing around the same time — still remains. On many occasions, since many international flights land with very little time gap, hundreds of passengers arrive in the terminal and it gets difficult to clear the crowd, officials say. “We have been repeatedly telling airlines to space out the flight schedule to avoid the problem. We are monitoring the situation every day,” he said.
In the new integrated terminal, which is under construction, there will be 108 counters for immigration. “We have requested the authorities for additional staff so that we get more manpower by the time the new building is opened later this year,” the official added.