Covid-19 protocols are not being followed and volunteers are not present at the airport to manage the crowds.
The increased scheduled flight capacity, winter rush and winter climatic conditions are leading to massive crowding in the domestic terminals of the Delhi airport, with Covid-19 protocols flying out of the window.
Delhi airport’s smaller terminals—terminal two and terminal one— are witnessing a large chunk of passengers since the last few months, leading to an increased time for check-in and security check for passengers bound for domestic travel.
This correspondent took a flight from terminal two of Delhi airport earlier this week and the total time taken from the entry gate of the terminal two building to the security hold area of the terminal took around one hour. The normal time taken from the entry gate to the security hold area should not be more than 20 minutes, but the long queues and lesser number of security gates at the security hold area has been leading to the bunching of passengers at the Delhi airport.
Covid-19 protocols were also seen to be not followed. There was no social distancing at the airport, nor were volunteers present at the airport to manage the crowds which were bunching near the security gates.
The situation is similar at the Terminal one of the Delhi airport as this terminal is undergoing a renovation and upgradation work, which has led to a decreased passenger handling capacity of this terminal. Many passengers complained of how they had to rush to catch their flight at the last minute, since they were stuck in long queues at the airport.
One such passenger, who is also a senior citizen, told The Sunday Guardian, “I had web checked in for my flight, but the baggage drop queue was so long that it took about 30 minutes to just drop my bags. The problem did not end there, when I reached for the security check, the queue was even longer. It took about another 30 minutes to just cross the security check. I had never seen such a crowd at the airport before. I had to excuse myself and rush ahead of the other passengers or else I would have missed my flight.”
Another passenger was seen pleading with the security officials at the airport to help her pass quickly as she was getting late for her flight. The security officials, however, helped the lady to pass through the security check on priority since she was just 20 minutes away from her flight to depart. Another passenger that this correspondent spoke to at the Delhi airport, termed the terminal two of the Delhi airport as “worse than stations”. “This airport has become worse than a railway station. There is no sitting space, flights get delayed, no announcements are made and people have to keep standing for long hours. Bad experience,” the passenger said.
However, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) authorities that this correspondent spoke to have said that the crowding and bunching of passengers was being witnessed by the Delhi airport due to the holiday season rush and the increased flight capacity at the airport and that it has been coupled with the fog season where flights get delayed leading to crowding.
“Airports are not made to hold passengers, they is designed and made in a way that inflow and outflow of passengers would be maintained, but during the winters, what happens is that flights often delayed due to the fog conditions, flights even get diverted to Delhi from nearby airports as winter conditions does not permit them to land at the those airports and, therefore, there is an increase in the passengers who have to wait for long hours within the terminal building. We have also witnessed a sudden rush of passengers in the Delhi airport because of the holiday season. This has also led to long queues at check-ins and security checks,” a DIAL spokesperson said. Delhi airport currently has the capacity to serve 70 million passengers annually and the airport is being upgraded to handle about 140 million passengers annually by 2030, keeping in mind the increased air traffic across the country.