India, August 2, 2023: In anticipation of the upcoming festive season, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) in India, under the guidance of Union Minister of Civil Aviation and Steel, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, is proactively implementing a series of measures to avert any potential airport congestion. These measures are aimed at ensuring a seamless travel experience for passengers during the festive period. The initiatives include:
Additional Manpower Deployment: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will deploy additional personnel in two phases, scheduled for completion by October 2023 and November 2023.
Bureau of Immigration (BoI) Staff Reinforcement: To enhance immigration processes, the reinforcement of BoI staff will commence by October 2023.
Security Infrastructure Enhancement: Airports will witness the installation of additional X-ray machines, check-in counters, and self-baggage drop facilities to facilitate smoother security procedures.
Real-time Updates via Social Media: The MoCA plans to leverage social media platforms to deliver real-time updates to passengers, ensuring they are well-informed about any developments or changes in airport processes. These updates will encompass enhanced processing capacity and expansions of Security Check areas.
The decision to implement these measures was prompted by the congestion experienced at major airports during the previous year’s festive season in Winter 2022. The resultant longer waiting times at various passenger processing points urged the Minister of Civil Aviation and Steel to visit the Delhi Airport, evaluate the situation, and direct airport operators across key locations including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Chennai, to identify constraints and enhance capacity to meet escalating passenger demand.
The root causes of the congestion were analyzed and identified as:
- Insufficient Airport Infrastructure
- Inadequate X-Ray Screening Machines
- Flight Bunching during Peak Hours
- Shortage of CISF and Immigration Staff
Immediate action was taken to address the challenges. Pre-Embarkation Security Checkpoints witnessed a substantial increase in the number of X-ray machines. Additional entry gates were established, waiting time screens were deployed at Entry and Police Naka Points and waiting areas were expanded. Support personnel were also deployed to assist passengers.
Collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and BoI resulted in 100% staffing of immigration counters. CISF deployment was rapidly escalated, followed by fresh reinforcements. Airport operators were instructed to optimize flight schedules during peak hours.
Innovative measures were introduced to expedite passenger flow, such as the installation of 2D Bar code scanners at Entry Gates for automated entry. Airlines were advised to issue tickets with barcodes to facilitate efficient entry at security gates.
The launch of Digi Yatra, a biometric-enabled seamless travel experience based on Facial Recognition Technology, on December 1, 2022, encouraged air travelers to utilize this platform for smoother passage through airports.
Furthermore, by restructuring terminal infrastructure, additional space was generated to augment terminal capacity, ultimately enhancing passenger comfort and reducing congestion.
With these comprehensive initiatives, the MoCA is steadfastly committed to ensuring hassle-free travel for passengers during the forthcoming festive season.