CHENNAI: The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) raised questions on the delay in the opening of the new international arrival terminal at Chennai airport during an inspection on Thursday.
Though the new steel and glass domestic and international terminals were commissioned in 2013, the airport has not been able to open the new international arrival terminal which is on the ground floor of the new international terminal building opened as part of the airport expansion four years ago, reports The Times of India.
Sources said that the officials, who reviewed the Chennai airport for commercial potential, raised questions on the non-operational arrival lounge of the steel and glass terminal.
Though the airport’s terminals were expanded at a cost of 2,000 crore, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has not been able to open the international arrival hall of the new building as it does not have space for proper handling of baggage and flights that arrive from abroad.
Even though new terminal buildings were commissioned, airlines raised objection to using the arrival hall of the new building because there is no space for handling baggage of wide-body planes that arrive at Chennai airport.
The AAI tried to build a new ramp for baggage, but it was not enough to handle the number of passengers who arrived by the planes.
“The wide-body planes bring around 500 passengers each and there was no space for handling baggage and immigration of the travellers. This has been a stumbling block for opening the new terminal,” said an official.
AAI was planning to open the new terminal by the end of the year but lack of space has prevented it from doing so.
A senior official of AAI said that efforts were on to open the new building by the end of the year. However, AAI is looking at demolishing the abandoned domestic terminal and building new integrated terminals in its place to increase passenger handling capacity of the airport in the coming years.