Long Queues, Missed & Delayed Flights: Chaotic Scenes at Mumbai Airport
Airport authorities said the festive season resulted in the sudden rush of passengers.
Chaotic scenes were witnessed at Terminal 2 of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) on Friday morning, 8 October, with several passengers stuck in long queues missing their flights and many flights getting delayed, NDTV reported.
Domestic airlines IndiGo and Vistara advised passengers to report early to avoid any inconvenience. Meanwhile, airport authorities said the festive season resulted in the sudden rush of passengers.
"We have been seeing long queues on weekends, but this weekend, probably due to the commencement of the festive season, the morning peak hour passenger rush was unprecedented in recent pandemic times," an airline official was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
According to the daily, almost all morning domestic flights were delayed, with the only ones leaving on time being the ones scheduled before 6 am.
"With the onset of the festive season, there has been a surge in passenger traffic and a sudden spike witnessed at CSMIA this morning. The security and safety of our passengers are of utmost priority and our endeavour is to continue to not compromise on these critical aspects," the CSMIA said in a statement.
However, several people posted pictures and videos of the situation at the airport on social media to vent their frustration, with some even saying that COVID-19 protocols were being violated because of the rush.
"T2 AT CSMIA (Mumbai Airport) is a shambles. Literally feels like we're in the dark ages. Endless milling crowds, machines breaking down, tempers frayed, chaos everywhere. Staff doing their best but absolutely unable to cope. Who runs this absolute shitshow? Please tag them (sic)," composer and singer Vishal Dadlani tweeted.
However, the CSMIA said that it was "following all the Covid protocols laid down by the Government to ensure a smoother transition. CSMIA regrets the inconvenience caused to any passengers and is offering them all the support required."
It also stated that in "keeping with the growing increase of passenger traffic and to ensure a seamless service experience, CSMIA has planned to open Terminal 1 operations from 20 October 2021."
However, the airport revised its statement later in the day, saying that Terminal would open on 13 October.
T1 to Reopen on 13 October: CSMIA
In a statement to The Quint, a CSMIA spokesperson said that the delays owing to the festival season were "compounded due to intelligence alerts leading to heightened security measures, as well as ongoing COVID restrictions."
Further, the spokesperson added that CSMIA has taken several measures to ensure a smooth airport experience while keeping security protocol intact. The measures include:
Resuming Terminal 1 operations from 13 October with flights operated by Go First, followed by Air Asia on 16 October, instead of the earlier planned 20 October resumption.
Deploying additional personnel to handle the passenger inflow at Security Handling Area (SHA) as an immediate remedy to passenger congestion.
Installing additional X-ray machines over the next four days to faster scan passengers’ carry-on luggage.
Asking airlines to remind passengers to report early and allow them to check-in their cabin luggage to avoid delays at security handling.
Expressing regret over the inconvenience caused, the airport stated that it is providing full support to affected passengers and has already accommodated the majority of passengers on alternative flights.
(With inputs from NDTV and The Times of India)
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