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Civil Aviation Minister, AAI urged to improve facilities at Amritsar airport

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Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22

FlyAmritsar Initiative (FAI), a group that has been vocal about development issues at the Sri Guru Ram Dass International (SGRDI) Airport in Amritsar, has highlighted several issues troubling travellers. In a letter to the Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sanjeev Kumar, Chairman of the Airport Authority of India (AAI), global convener of the FAI, Sameep Singh Gumtala along with Secretary AVM Yogesh Kamra, urged the ministry and AAI to take immediate action to address the concerns and prioritise passenger safety, comfort and convenience.

“With passenger footfall exceeding 10,000 daily and three million for the financial year 2023-24, the current terminal building at SGRDI urgently requires immediate attention and expansion to accommodate the growing number of flights and passengers. Long queues at checkpoints, including terminal entry, X-ray and check-in counters, immigration and security checks, cumbersome maneuverability in pick/drop area, unavailability of required number of wheelchairs and baggage trolleys are causing significant delay for passengers,” Kamra said.

They had on many occasions requested the local management of the airport to open multiple departure area gates to alleviate long queues and improve the flow of passengers into the terminal building. “Several people, including travellers, have also reached out to us regarding airport staff asking for tips and cash at the entrance/exit gate, inside washrooms, near boarding gates and in the parking/arrival areas, which amounts to harassment. The overcharging by parking contractor and dysfunctional FASTag systems has added to the grievances of travellers lately,” he added.

The FAI has raised the issue of developing a multi-storied parking, rejuvenation of pick-up and drop off area since long.

A major concern that remains is that despite being well connected and having a frequent number of domestic and international flights, the airport is yet to offer air cargo service, critical for commerce and trade in the region. Other issues that needs immediate attention include slow X-ray, security and immigration process, presence of birds, rodents and mosquitoes, water seepage, cleanliness around water and toilet facilities, and early implementation of self-baggage drop and Digi Yatra technologies at the airport.

Anticipating further rise in footfall at the airport, the FAI also appealed to the minister’s office to liaison with the Punjab government for addressing the long-pending demand for local as well as intercity bus service for end-to-end connectivity with the catchment area of Amritsar airport.

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