MoCA Takes Steps To Prevent Airport Congestion Ahead Of Upcoming Festive Season

Jyotiraditya M. Scindia took stock of the situation after congestion witnessed during festive season last year

Under the guidance of Union Minister of Civil Aviation and Steel, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is working on multiple measures to mitigate any likelihood of airport congestion during the upcoming festive season this year. These include:

• Additional manpower deployment by CISF in two phases by October 2023 and by November 2023

• Bureau of Immigration (BoI) staff reinforcement will start by October 2023.

• To support, security infrastructure at airports, additional X-ray machines, check-in counters, and self-baggage drop facilities will be added at airports.

• Use of social media platforms to provide real-time updates to passengers to make airport transit seamless. Information regarding enhancement in processing capacity and expansion of Security Check areas will also be communicated.

The issue of congestion at the major airports was witnessed in the last year’s festive season/ Winter 2022 which was a cause for longer waiting times at various touch points in passenger processing. Taking immediate stock of the situation, the Minister of Civil Aviation and Steel Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia had visited the Delhi Airport to inspect the arrangements, and had directed the airport operators at Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Chennai to identify bottlenecks and augment capacity to meet the growing passenger demand. The causes of congestion were profiled, and it was observed that the broad causative factors were:

  • Lack of sufficient airport infrastructure
  • Inadequate X-Ray screening machines
  • Bunching of flights particularly at peak hours
  • Inadequate CISF manpower and immigration manpower to meet the requirement.

For improving requisite infrastructure at major airports, various actions were immediately taken. The number of X-ray machines was significantly increased at Pre-Embarkation Security Checkpoints. Additional entry gates were set up. Waiting time screens were set at Entry and Police Naka Points to apprise passengers and the waiting area was increased. Support manpower was deployed to assist passengers.

MHA/BoI was approached to ensure 100% manning of immigration counters. CISF/MHA was actively roped in for increasing CISF deployment immediately followed by fresh augmentations. Airports Operators were directed to ease out the number of flights during peak hours.

Airport operators also installed a 2D Bar code scanner at Entry Gates to facilitate automated entry. Airlines were advised to ensure barcodes on tickets issued to passengers so that the same can be read by barcode scanners to facilitate smooth entry at entry/security gates.

Digi Yatra was launched on 01.12.2022 and air travellers are encouraged to use Digi Yatra, a biometric-enabled seamless travel experience based on Facial Recognition Technology. Inflight announcements to encourage usage of the Digi Yatra platform are being made.

Additional space was also created by restructuring the Terminal infrastructure to increase the capacity of the terminal, ensuring ease for passengers, and thereby helping reduce congestion.

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