The new terminal of the Chandigarh international airport that began operations on Monday is still struggling to provide satisfactory services to the passengers. Passengers are inconvenienced with the baggage belts not functioning properly, high fares of taxis and lack of proper signages.
Many passengers claimed they had to endure long waits to collect their baggage, due to improper functioning of the baggage belts at the airport. On Wednesday, several passengers, whom Chandigarh Newsline spoke complained of a glitch in the baggage belts. “I entered the airport around 11.40 am, after my flight landed. I am coming out and it is 12.15 pm,” said Satinder, who came from Mumbai. “There was an issue in the belts and we had to wait till the issue was resolved.”
The airport authorities on Tuesday had said an expert team from New-Delhi has been called to look into the “malfunctioning” of the baggage belts at the airport.
Another important issue, the passengers said, is limited number of cab operators available at the airport . At present, only two cab operators have installed their counters. While one of them is charging Rs 23 per kilometre, another cab service provider has a ‘fixed rate’ of Rs 750 for a drop at any place in the tricity. “There should be an option of another cab operator that is cheaper,” said Umeed Singh, a passenger. “When you don’t have that cheaper option, you have to choose one of these two. Earlier, there used to be local taxi service associations operating cabs from the airport, who would charge nominal amounts.”
On Wednesday, the city bus service also started a service for the passengers at the airport. A total of four buses plied from the airport to bus stand, 17 and 43 during the day. An official said the bus service received “huge response” from the public.
The international airport lacks ATMs and eating points. No ATM machines have been installed at the airport yet and there is only one eatery inside the premises. “I don’t have enough cash with me. It is shocking that this place doesn’t have proper facilities,” said a passenger who arrived in the city from Mumbai.
Lack of proper signages and direction boards are also inconveniencing passengers. “If this is an international airport, the facilities should be like that,” said Raj Kumar, a Mohali resident who was waiting for her daughter, arriving from Mumbai. “It needs more work and then we can really say, yes we have an international airport in our city.”
Even airport and airline staffers complain that the poor cellular network and limited number of entry and exit points at the airport is giving them a tough time. “It is difficult to get a call connected in the basement and the security hold area of the airport,” said an airline staffer. “Also, we have to cover so much distance to go from one place to another within the airport. There are gates, but those are closed.”
Sunil Dutt, chief executive officer of the Chandigarh international airport, said, “There are two cab operators and the public transport is available for the public. We are working on other options as well.” “The baggage on the belt was smooth as the team from Delhi reached to the city to look after the baggage belts,” he said.