With a chaotic surge, Mumbai airport mirrors suburban railway stations

After notching a record post-pandemic air passengers movement, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) is witnessing a massive overcrowding of fliers with the swank terminal resembling a chaotic Mumbai railway station during peak hours.

Social activist Binu Varghese and other passengers posted alarming videos of the sea of humanity at the airport, with many irate fliers breaching security norms to rush past barricades or security and baggage check-ins, even as the harried CISF and Mumbai Police personnel tried to grapple the situation.

Videos showed huge crowds at CSMIA-T2 with passengers wearily awaiting their turns to complete the check-in procedures as the crowds continued to increase outside and inside.

“Massive crowds of passengers were seen moving around in CSMIA T2, today at 5 a.m., shot by me. Do plan your schedule,” advised Varghese, while businessman Ritesh Dodhia of ‘Dodhia Group’ suggested “heavy rush at domestic airport security check-ina whoever planning to travel please take care of extra time”.

The social media went viral with the videos of the disarray at CSMIA, venting their ire on the airport authorities and even tagged Ratan Tata and AAI, among others.

Another Twitteratti uploaded a photo and wrote how “Mumbai roads and stations had this scene”, and said the chaos is such that even gates are not allotted to airlines, with no kiosks and pad.

The besieged CSMIA has said that it is working on the issue but due to the sudden passenger surge, they are being prioritised as per departure timings.

An official spokesperson listed out several initiatives like augmenting manpower resources with the inclusion of Passenger Service Executive along with infrastructural facilities inside and outside the airport, a digital passenger flow and queue monitoring system in the Security Processing Zone, teams and extra staff at pre-security checks, duty managers present at the security counters to manage queues and prioritize senior citizens or passengers with child in arms, similar initiatives to manage queues at Immigration and Customs, immigration halls to guide the passengers to the designated counters, staffers at self-baggage drop kiosks, etc.

The developments came just a day after the CSMIA announced on Monday that it had created a record of 1.50 lakh domestic and international fliers passing through the airport, in the post-pandemic times on December 10, which was 97 per cent of the pre-pandemic peak.

Tuesday’s photos and videos at CSMIA were similar to the scenes witnessed at Delhi airport last week and after many complaints, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia paid a surprise visit to the airport.

20221213-181405

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