Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla reviews congestion at Delhi & Mumbai airports

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla recently convened a meeting with key stakeholders, to look into the issue of crowding at airports, especially in Delhi and Mumbai. The meeting comes in the wake of a series of complaints from passengers regarding long lines and queues, as well as the rush at the entry gates, luggage dropping area as well as in security check areas.

Representatives of key stakeholders such as the Civil Aviation Ministry, airport operators, CISF, and Bureau of Immigration are expected to attend the meeting, an official said.

Over the last two weeks, passengers have been posting pictures and videos of long queues and crowds at the IGI in Delhi and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai prompting authorities to take note and ask airlines and airport operators to ease the traffic.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has formed a pool of more than 100 personnel to man additional security counters expected to be handed over to it to ease the congestion at large airports of Delhi and Mumbai, official sources said.

The central paramilitary, designated as the national aviation security force, has informed airport operators, airlines, and the Union civil aviation ministry that while it can bring on board some more security personnel, there can be “no compromise on security protocols and standard operating procedures followed by it for regular frisking of passengers and scanning of cabin baggage apart from fliers required to undergo extensive search due to specific profiling.”

The civil aviation ministry had asked airlines to deploy adequate manpower at all check-in and baggage drop counters, besides requesting the scheduled airlines to update their social media feed with real-time numbers on the waiting time at airports’ entry gates.

The continued commotion at the airports has forced airlines to ask passengers to reach airports early, do a web check-in, and carry only one piece of hand baggage for faster movement.