Andhra Pradesh

Vizag airport flies higher up the ASQ ladder with better facilities

The launch of an exclusive SpiceXpress cargo flight in February, connecting Visakhapatnam to Surat and Kolkata and Chennai six days a week, has turned out to be a boon for shrimp exporters from the city.  

The ASQ (Air Service Quality) ranking, given by the Airport Council International (ACI), has placed Visakhapatnam International Airport in the 70th position this year among airports across the world.

The ASQ ranking is an indicator of passenger satisfaction with the quality of services offered at an airport.

The airport had scored 160th rank in the last quarter of 2019, and has turned in an impressive performance to register 70th rank, according to airport officials. The rankings are based on passenger feedback.

Cleanliness, regular sanitisation of the premises and an assurance of safety are parameters on which passengers judge the quality of an airport, and the slightest feeling that the airport is lagging on any of these parameters may result in passengers giving negative feedback and even deciding not to travel via the airport in the future, say officials.

However, the steady increase in passengers after the resumption of domestic flights in May 2020, indicates the satisfaction of passengers with the airport. “The first thing that passengers look for at the airport after a long flight is the washroom. We have improved the washrooms to match the standards of a 5-star hotel. Cleanliness of the toilet and the entire premises is being ensured round-the-clock by appointing a dedicated team with 125 members on a contractual basis,” Airport Director M. Raja Kishore said.

“A ‘protocol department’ has been created for the first time to guide fliers who may not be aware of the procedures and senior citizens and others who require special assistance for baggage and security checks. Apart from improving the amenities and services at the terminal building, we have also created facilities for those coming to the airport to see off their near and dear ones, and for visitors. We expect to improve our ASQ ranking further for the last quarter of 2020, which is expected to be out soon,” he said.

According to him, on the city side, washroom facilities have been provided for visitors and a parking space developed for an additional 100 cars. A canopy has been erected to enable passengers and visitors from getting drenched in the rain while walking from the terminal building to board a cab or a bus. Illuminated boards have been erected near the national highway for the benefit of air travellers. The boards are expected to be inaugurated by January 1.

On the air side, the linear expansion of the terminal building, which is nearing completion, will provide an additional 10,000 sq.m of space to the existing 20,000 sq.m. The 10,000 sq.m will be utilised exclusively for international arrivals and international departures. The existing space, being used for international arrival/departures, will be used to meet the additional requirements of domestic arrival/departure passengers.

The present peak hour passenger capacity of 700 will increase to 1,050 on completion of the terminal building expansion.

Cargo facilities

The launch of an exclusive SpiceXpress cargo flight in February 2020, connecting Visakhapatnam to Surat and Kolkata and Chennai, six days a week, has turned out to be a boon for shrimp exporters from Visakhapatnam, who were earlier sending their stock to Delhi and Mumbai and by connecting flights to Surat and Kolkata. “What used to take 24 hours in the past, is now being delivered within four hours,” said Mr. Raja Kishore.

Vizag airport is slowly but steadily getting back on its feet even as scheduled international flights to various destinations continue to remain suspended due to the pandemic. The number of passengers handled by the airport after the resumption of domestic flights are as follows: May – 7,000, June – 40,000, July – 42,000, August – 61,000, September – 84,000 and October – 1,02,000.

The annual passenger footfall in the pre-COVID-19 situation was 28 lakh. The passenger footfall in October 2019 was 2.2 lakh as against 1.02 lakh this year.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 11:19:07 PM |

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