Thursday, March 30

New trolleys arrive at Kolkata airport to take the burden off flyers

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Financial consultant Dipanjan Datta was pleasantly surprised to find a shiny new set of trolleys when he arrived at the Kolkata airport from Delhi on Tuesday afternoon. The last time he had flown in, trolleys were hard to spot. Even among the few that were there, many did not function properly. A new set of lighter, faster and sturdier trolleys has arrived at the airport, the first batch since the airport’s expansion in 2013. So far, 1,580 new trolleys have reached the airport in four phases.

“Luggage trolley is the first service that a flyer requires at the airport. At Kolkata airport, finding a trolley has been an issue, particularly during busy hours or late at night. Everyone will be glad that something has finally been done about the crisis,” Datta, a resident of Lake Gardens, said.

With 1,500 new trolleys added to the existing inventory of 1,500-plus trolleys, there are around 3,000 trolleys in circulation now, half in the departure level and rest in the arrival. Over the next couple of months, an additional 2,500 new trolleys will be delivered, taking the strength of new trolleys to 4,000, enough to ensure there is no shortage. In addition, older trolleys are being regularly repaired, an airport official said.

The airport handles around 18 million passengers a year, or around 50,000 passengers a day. With most flights scheduled between 6am and midnight, around 2,700 persons either arrive at or depart from the airport per hour. If three out of five were to require a trolly, 1,600 units should suffice. With twice the number of trolleys now in circulation, there is ample time to retrieve trolleys and stack them at the racks adjoining luggage conveyor belts in the arrival level and entry points to the terminal in the departure level.

Passengers who used the new trolleys on Tuesday said they were lighter, more manouverable, more spacious, better designed and easier to use. “The luggage platform in the earlier trolleys was high, and hence, it was difficult to lift heavy bags on to them,” said fashion designing student Suparna Agarwal, who is not a light traveller.

Also, the two front wheels of the older trolleys moved independently, making it difficult to manoeuvre them once loaded with heavy luggage. While the new trolleys too have a pair of front wheels, they are lined up like the nose wheel of an aircraft and hence can be easily manoeuvred.

Another feature of the new trolleys manufactured by a Mumbai-based organisation — Delite Systems Engineering Pvt Ltd — that will be appreciated by women, particularly those wearing dupattas or long scarves, is the rear wheel covers that prevent trailing apparel from getting caught in them.

“Once we have 4,000 new trolleys and 1,500 old trolleys in circulation, we will deploy around 1,000 trolleys in the old terminal from where Haj flights operate. A few trolleys will be kept in reserve for exigency while we will continue to service and use the rest,” airport director Atul Dikshit said.

Trolley trouble and poor housekeeping have been the twin thorns at Kolkata airport with passengers rating both poorly and pulling down the ranking. The airport management is hoping that the score card will improve now that trolleys have arrived in plenty.

Source: Times of India

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