CHENNAI: Long lines at the security check points in Chennai airport in the mornings are so legendary that people joke about them incessantly these days.
To redress the complaint, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has floated a proposal to build a skywalk between the new and old terminals and add ten more security counters there to reduce congestion.
“What we’ve found is that with the existing ten counters, it can take almost 16-20 minutes for a passenger to clear the check because around 1,500 people travel during the peak morning hour. To cut waiting time, we have been considering setting up ten more counters at the old Kamaraj domestic terminal and linking the two areas with an air-conditioned skywalk,” said a senior official. Currently, there are twelve counters for security checks, of which two are reserved for VIPs and special visitors.
The Kamaraj domestic terminal, which has not been used since the inauguration of new terminals in 2013, was recently inspected for this purpose. The old waiting hall is expected to be the ideal ground if the project is approved by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and AAI’s high command.
“Only a proposal has been floated as of now. It will take some convincing and work to see if the project is feasible. If approved it can be finished quite easily,” said Captain Deepak Shastri, airport director.
Estimated to cost around `10 crore to construct, the skywalk will have a few ramps to prop it up as there is a height difference between the two terminals. “To offset this, the ramps will be progressively shorter so that they connect both terminals effectively. The skywalk will be air-conditioned and people can walk with their luggage through to the other terminal and finish security checks there,” said another official.
However, a key factor that may determine whether the skywalk takes off or not is the privatisation bid, set for May 26. Sources in New Delhi said things were “moving along” on that front, but were not sure whether the bid would be accepted on that date.