Delhi airport once again witnessed huge rush of passengers on Wednesday afternoon.
Serpentine queues were seen at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) .
The stepped up security at the entry gates which have slowed the verification of ID cards and tickets greeted passengers on arrival. The slow moving queues led to heated exchanges between passengers and airline staff. Irate passengers were seen milling around check in counters to get their boarding passes.
IGI had bagged the number one position in the world for the second consecutive year, in 2016 in the 25-40 Million Passengers Per Annum (MPPA) categories. But the country’s best airport has once again exposed its inability to handle the rush during summer vacation.
The scene was no different last summer too. The swanky international and domestic terminals saw a record four million passengers walking through its doors in May 2015.
The unprecedented heat in the plains of north India in the past several weeks has resulted in a sudden spurt in the number of passengers flying out to cooler destinations like Srinagar, Leh and Shimla. The school vacations have also added to the huge volume of passengers. The flash sales by airlines in the past have contributed to the number of passengers flying out this summer.
Wednesday’s rush came two days after hours of chaos at Delhi airport. Dust storms accompanied by strong winds which lashed the capital for hours had forced the airport officials to divert 38 flights to other airports. Some 200 flights were delayed.
Passengers who had boarded their flights complained that they had to wait inside the aircraft for over three hours before take off.
Those stranded at the domestic terminal 1 D were forced to sit on the floor for hours as many of the outbound flights were delayed due to air traffic congestion.
Food and refreshment stalls had sold out their stock. There were complaints that even drinking water was not available. However Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) officials have denied this.
The metro construction work outside the terminal added to the traffic chaos.
The ordeal of most of the stranded passengers ended only on Tuesday morning.
The situation at international airport was comparatively better because passengers could find place to sit in the sprawling terminal, an official who did not want to be named, said.