The holiday rush has crippled India’s busiest airport in Delhi, with irate passengers complaining on social media about missed flights and serpentine pre-boarding lines.
Pictures posted on Twitter showed overcrowding at Delhi International Airport Ltd., with passengers grumbling about long waits for security check and mismanagement by airport staff.
The government has even stepped in to help ease the congestion, with India’s civil aviation ministry saying in a statement Dec. 10 that it’s working with airlines to reduce flight departures to 14 during peak hours. It didn’t disclose data for normal traffic. About 2,827 domestic and 471 international flights took off on Sunday. Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia also visited one of the terminals on Monday.
— Shaina Ahluwalia (@sayshaina) December 10, 2022
Additionally, the Delhi airport is adding baggage screening systems at security check and increasing traffic marshals to avoid vehicles clogging the departure.
Dear @JM_Scindia we have been in line for almost an hour and still there is no respite…
CISF needs to increase counters and GMR Delhi airport is becoming worse than ISBT. At least 100 people will miss their flights today… @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/jkzn7N5svW
— Kit Walker (@pegasus191) December 6, 2022
The global aviation industry has been broadly caught underprepared and understaffed for the rebound in travel demand following the easing of Covid-linked travel restrictions. While most carriers have been rushing to increase capacity, some have been too slow to restore some of their scrapped services.
India has kicked off a project to build a second airport to service the national capital region of Delhi. The present facility is running out of parking and landing slots after the emergence of a raft budget carriers, which have made air travel more affordable to a rising middle class.
The planned Noida International airport, being built by Zurich Airport International AG, will accommodate 70 million passengers annually. Its first terminal will have an annual capacity of 30 million passengers and will be developed by 2024.
The chaos at Delhi airport also puts the focus back on a proposed second airport for Mumbai, India’s financial capital. Mumbai started work on the new airport in 2018 — more than two decades after it was first mooted — even though its current airport had already run out of space for planes during peak hours.