What led to the massive Indian Airport jam

Airports in India’s biggest cities—Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru—are seeing heavy traffic as more travellers take to the sky.

What is driving the airport traffic?

  • Long lines can be found at the airport’s entrance, check-in desks, security, and immigration.
  • The baggage claim areas are also crowded.
  • This is the outcome of an unanticipated increase in demand for air travel during the holiday season; in the previous two years, this demand was dampened due to the pandemic.
  • For the previous ten days, air traffic has been 1-7% above pre-covid levels of 4 lakh daily travellers.
  • As a result, the quantity of baggage belts, X-Ray machines, and automatic trays for security as well as the CISF’s check-in staff are insufficient to handle the demand.

Most affected airports

  • At airports with high levels of connection, like those in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, the congestion is worse.
  • The worst-affected airport is Delhi, the busiest in India and the tenth busiest worldwide.
  • With a 27% share of the international segment for the nation and a 20% share of all air traffic in India, Delhi manages the greatest portion of both domestic and international air traffic in the nation.
  • The airport can accommodate over 70 million passengers annually with its three terminals.
  • The airport has handled more than 190,000 passengers each day over the past 10 days, almost reaching its maximum capacity.

Is airport congestion an India-specific problem?

  • Air travel still experiences difficulties on a global scale.
  • London Heathrow, the busiest airport in Europe, needs to hire some 25,000 people to manage peak hours.
  • To control traffic, Schiphol in Amsterdam has limited capacity to 20%.
  • Following the pandemic’s mass layoffs, the aviation sector anticipates a realignment of worker numbers by the middle of 2023.

What is being done to reduce airport congestion?

  • The aviation ministry has suggested fewer flights and adding staff to all check-in and baggage drop points.
  • It has attempted to increase the number of baggage trays and X-ray equipment for security inspection.
  • The government will also assess the number of people needed at the immigration counters and, if necessary, deploy more people.
  • For domestic flights leaving from Delhi, IndiGo, the country’s largest airline, has requested that passengers arrive 3.5 hours in advance.

Easing the airport congestion  

  1. There isn’t a quick fix, and the government’s plan of action will only provide short-term relief. It will take time to increase the staffing levels at immigration, security, and admission.
  2. It is anticipated that increased use of Digi Yatra, a contactless travel platform, by passengers without checked bags will help to reduce traffic.
  3. Mumbai and Delhi, for example, require more infrastructure.
  4. However, it is only anticipated that the Navi Mumbai Airport and the Jewar Airport in Noida will be operating by 2024.
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