The Airports Authority of India (AAI) said on Wednesday that it has written to Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) to explain the measures it has taken to remove “deficiency in services” amid recent cases of congestion.
The Centre-run AAI had in 2006 leased out the Delhi airport to GMR Group-led DIAL for 30 years. Under the contract the that two entities signed, DIAL has to maintain certain “objective quality requirements”.
The service quality standards in the contract state that the queuing time at the check-in desks for business class and economy class passengers must not exceed five minutes and 20 minutes, respectively.
The quality standards also state that the queuing time for security check must be capped at 10 minutes for 95 per cent of the passengers.
Under the contract, if these service quality standards are not met, the AAI can ask DIAL to pay 0.5 per cent of the monthly revenue as penalty.
In a statement on Wednesday, the AAI said that following the recent cases of congestion at Delhi airport, the ministry of civil aviation has issued certain remedial instructions to DIAL.
“A letter has also been issued by AAI, the reply to which is awaited from DIAL. Subsequent action, if required, will be taken under the provisions of the agreement,” it added. DIAL did not respond to Business Standard’s queries on AAI’s letter.
The AAI said DIAL has been submitting quarterly reports to it demonstrating compliance with the service quality standards in the contract. The last report submitted was for the July-September period.
A surge in air travel – airports have seen over 400,000 domestic flyers a day for 11 straight days – has strained the infrastructure at the country’s busiest airports such as Delhi and Mumbai, and forced the MoCA to order a reduction and shifting of peak-hour flights.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia visited Delhi airport on Monday to take stock of the situation. He interacted with airport and airline staff to find ways to ease congestion. A five-point plan was put in place covering all areas — entrance, check-in area, security check, immigration. A reduction and shifting of peak hour flights (5 a.m. to 9 a.m.) from terminal T3 to terminals T2 and T1 was also proposed as a remedy.
On Monday night, India’s largest carrier IndiGo told passengers to reach Delhi airport three-and-a-half hours before domestic departure and carry only one hand baggage for a smooth security check. Vistara asked its passengers to arrive three hours before departure for domestic as well as international flights.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on Tuesday said check-in counters left unmanned by airlines were leading to congestion at major airports in the country.
“Airlines are therefore advised to deploy sufficient manpower at all check-in/baggage drop counters well in advance to ensure decongestion and smooth flow of passengers at airports,” the MoCA’s letter noted.
Airlines are requested to place real-time data on their social media feeds regarding waiting time at respective airports’ entry gates, it added.