Thursday, May 29, 2008

BIA’s teething problems?

BIA’s teething problems?
Thursday May 29 2008 12:19 IST

Monica Jha & Mohammed Shariff

BANGALORE: Delayed flights. Time-consuming baggage arrival. Non-operational aerobridges. Delays in connecting step ladders with the aircraft. Lack of help for passengers. Lack of signages. Filthy toilets. Lack of proper announcements of arrivals and departures.

Small display screen that poses problems for sighting the schedules. All this and more at the new Bengaluru International Airport that was once vouched to be at par with international standards.


Allen Joseph Mendonca, who arrived from Male on May 26 at 2.45 pm, complained: ''There were only two immigration officials at the counters to handle the long queues of passengers from three international flights that arrived within minutes of each other. Baggage arrival took an additional half an hour. It took me an hour and thirtyfive minutes to get to the terminal after landing. Of the six aerobridges that I could notice, only two were operational.

There are not enough buses to ferry people inside the airport, there is no proper process to hire a taxi, the air conditioners are not fixed in the cramped arrival area and everything seems to be done in a hurry and is still unfinished. The painting and marking for queues at various counters too are not proper.''


Bhuvan Eshwar, an employee at Baltimore Washington Airport, arrived by an Air India flight from Delhi (New York-Delhi-Bangalore) on Tuesday night. ''Airport! There is no proper planning and operational management. The conveyor belts have no railings, the toilets are filthy, no facilities at all...'' Eshwar said.


A Kingfisher flight from Mangalore arrived at 10:27 pm on Tuesday. But Tapan Maji, a passenger on that flight, had to wait for over an hour to receive his baggage, only to wonder how to get to the city.

Many Jet Airways and Deccan passengers from Delhi too had arguments with authorities over the same issue.


A South African couple Taylor and Allison were shocked when they realised it was not the same airport as shown in their guide book. At 12.30 am on Wednesday, they struggled with the taxi drivers to 'get out of the place,' only to discover that the budget hotel in Chikpet was more than 45 km away.


Suma Crawford, who arrived by Thai Airways flight late on Tuesday night, was accompanying her wheelchairbound mother from the US to Bangalore via Bangkok.

She says she has never seen such unfriendly staff, even towards disabled passengers.


A Sri Lankan Airlines flight passenger Sheetal from Colombo, on Monday, complained: ''Immigration counters are on the first floor and baggage claim on the ground floor, but there is no signage to indicate this, causing lots of confusion amongst the passengers.''


Ramakanth K, who arrived on Sunday (May 25) on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt complained: ''We were made to wait for over 20 minutes in the aircraft after it landed. Immigration and baggage arrival took a lot of time. Meanwhile,my wife waiting at the Arrival was worried as there were no announcements and the Scheduled Time of Arrival was flashed as 2335 instead of 0005 (half an hour early).''


A fun-visit to explore the new airport on Tuesday night cost Imteyaz Khan a little too much. He parked his car to go around and came back after a little over an hour. It was only after he was asked to pay Rs 200 for parking and given booklets on parking facilities that he realised he had parked in the VVIP parking.


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