Waiting time at international terminal set to come down

Departure operations of IndiGo, SpiceJet to be moved to unused arrival hall

Published - August 24, 2019 12:58 am IST - CHENNAI

CEHNNAI : TAMILNADU : 07/07/2019 : FOR CITY : A view of the Chennai Airport International Departure Terminal. Photo : K. Pichumani/ The Hindu

CEHNNAI : TAMILNADU : 07/07/2019 : FOR CITY : A view of the Chennai Airport International Departure Terminal. Photo : K. Pichumani/ The Hindu

The time taken to clear immigration and security during peak hours for international passengers flying out of the Chennai airport will soon reduce.

Currently, passengers have to queue up for anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour and, in some cases, even upto 90 minutes, to complete the immigration process and clear security.

Officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said to ease the congestion, international departure operations of two airlines — IndiGo and SpiceJet — will be shifted to the arrival hall in a month.

At the airport, departure operations function on the first floor of the new international terminal, and arrivals are handled on the ground floor of the old international terminal (Anna International Terminal).

The international arrival hall has been mostly lying unused, ever since phase I modernisation of the airport was completed nearly six years ago, due to lack of manpower to staff immigration and customs operations, officials said.

The plan is to use this arrival hall now for departure operations as well, to ease congestion.

“We have used this hall sparingly for handling special Haj flight departures alone, on a few occasions. When we handled these flights, the departures were smooth and there were no issues. So we have made arrangements to transfer the departure operations of IndiGo and SpiceJet to the arrivals hall now. We will have a few check-in counters and standalone baggage scanning machines ready in a month, after which it will start functioning. Passengers may get some relief then,” an official said.

More to follow?

After studying the operations of the two airlines in the arrivals hall, it is likely that a few more airlines may be moved to the hall for departure operations, he added.

But passengers will see a significant improvement only after the phase II modernisation is complete, and the new integrated terminal becomes operational in about two years, officials added.

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