Passengers flying out of the Lohegaon Airport with minimal baggage now have a reason to smile as they don’t need to stand in a queue any more. The airport has got its first self check-in kiosk.
Union Minister for Environment and Forests (EoMF) Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the facility on Thursday. Passengers travelling with cabin baggage can directly check into the airport. Airport authorities said that this might save up to 10 to 15 minutes of every passenger.
Airport Director Manoj Gangal said, “The check-in kiosk has become functional from today. It would prove helpful in saving time of the passengers as well as reducing the load on the other kiosks as there is considerable proportion of fliers who carry cabin baggage and will use the self check-in kiosk. Internationally, all the airports have this facility. We have now initiated it on pilot basis and will launch more kiosks in the future.”
Javadekar said that the airport will need at least 4 to 5 such kiosks to meet the demands of over 1,500 passengers who use the airport daily.
On Thursday, Javadekar also formally inaugurated the wi-fi internet facility started by the Airport Authority of India in association with data service provider Tata Docomo.
Those flying out of the airport, arriving at the airport, airport staffers, flight crew members will be able to use the high speed wi-fi. The service will be free for first 30 minutes after which the user will be charged as per plan.
After inaugurating the service by accessing it on his personal cellphone, Javadekar said that the wi-fi service was a must at public places and congratulated the AAI and Tata Docomo officials for taking the initiative.
Gangal said that as per studies carried out, as many as 97 per cent of air travellers carried at least one mobile device while flying.
“This is spurring airports to invest considerably in improving the IT infrastructure to cater to passengers’ demands,” he said.
Sunil Tandon, head of non-voice services, Tata Teleservices Limited, said, “Today, internet has become as essential as water and electricity. 50 per cent passengers rely on the internet for real time flight information. Providing the service at the airport is the beginning. We will begin similar services at several other public places in the city.”
Javadekar said that the Defence Ministry was positive about providing land for expansion of the present facilities at the Lohegaon Airport. “I have been discussing the issue of acquiring land for expansion of the Lohegaon Airport. I hope we will soon get enough land to build two additional aprons which will considerably increase flight operations,” said Javadekar.