Long queues at immigration, unorganised security checks, chaos at the lounge — Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3 has become a nightmare for passengers despite authorities reducing flights.
Passengers have been complaining for weeks about how departure from the T3 Airport is a tedious process. Visuals from the airport shared on social media show men and women lined up in several queues for security check, with some saying they had to wait for two to three hours at the clearance area.
Some of the reasons for the long queues at the immigration and security checks are because of fewer counters, smaller space, more passengers and limited security staff. Traffic outside the terminal is also causing trouble. Meanwhile, airlines have started asking passengers to come at least 3.5 hours before departure.
The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) on Saturday said it is working to cope with the demand at T3. “We, along with stakeholders such as CISF and Immigration, are working constantly to cope with the demand which includes deployment of additional systems and manpower. We have deployed additional manpower to guide passengers, especially at key choke points, and shifted one additional X-Ray machine. Additional manpower requirements will also have to be addressed by all stakeholders, including CISF and Immigration, to further improve the situation.”
Sources said there are limited CISF staffers deployed at the airport which leads to chaos and longer waiting time for passengers.
As per DIAL, they have reduced the number of flights for decongestion – from 22 flights per hour (pre-Covid) to 19 flights per hour (November 2022). However, this hasn’t helped the authorities much as there’s inadequate management in the T3 area.
T3 manages over 500 domestic and 250 internal flights and is the busiest point of the Airport.
Union Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia also addressed the congestion taking place in December.
He told the media, “Certain airports are facing issues due to congestion. We held several meetings with the ministry, major airports and other officials. We have asked them to take necessary steps to decongest the areas. The ‘bunching’ of flights during peak hours often leads to congestion… We will try to smoothen that curve. At Delhi, now 19 flights are operating per hour instead of 22. We are trying to reduce it further so passengers don’t face problems. At the entry point, we are trying to get more personnel deployed. Lastly, at the security checkpoint, we gave two suggestions to airports. We should increase the capacity of the trolly (hand baggage) and increase the number of personnel…”
A DIAL spokesperson said they are also leveraging technology like the use of an AI-based passenger tracking system.
“In future, the implementation of Digiyatra should also help reduce waiting time… DIAL is also creating new infrastructure and facilities under phase 3A expansion plan, like the opening of new T1 Arrivals and phased opening of integrated Terminal 1,” said the official.