Friday, September 25

Waiting in the wings: A safer, better Kolkata airport

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Even as Kolkata airport struggles to come to terms with unprecedented revenue loss owing to frequent suspension of flight operations and the resultant lower passenger movement as the state battles the pandemic, the airport authorities are rolling out new low-cost initiatives to enhance passenger safety and comfort.

Four self check-in kiosks that are present in the domestic wing are being converted into contactless devices that will allow passengers to henceforth print out boarding cards without touching the screen. The airport has entered into an agreement with logistics solution provider SITA to roll out the technology. While Air India and IndiGo has already come on board, the system will be functional once other airlines operating from the city join the initiative.

“Before the airport reopened, we had laid out distance markers for passengers to queue up at the self check-in kiosks. But since operation of the kiosk requires touching the screen, we have turned to a solution that will enable flyers to transport the screen on to their cellphone to print out the boarding card,” Kolkata airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee said.

While passengers are now required to do online checkin prior to arriving at the airport, a few passengers still reach the airport without prior check-ins and are guided to the self check-in kiosks to collect their boarding cards. Once the touchless facility is functional, passengers have to switch on WiFi data that will be provided free of charge near the kiosks. Thereafter, the flyer will receive a prompt on the cellphone to scan the QR code on the kiosks. Once that is done, the screen can be accessed on the phone where the passenger can punch in the PNR number and give the command for a boarding pass printout.

While this facility is expected to be online in a week or so, the comfort level at the airport has already been upgraded with 50 recliners in the security hold area for passengers to relax after the stressful check-in.

“The recliners were to arrive in February but was delayed by a month. Unfortunately, lockdown was announced and everything was stalled. We have finally got the recliners and deployed them in the terminal — 40 in domestic and 10 in international,” said Bhattacharjee.

The recliners will be of special help for transit passengers who at times have to wait for several hours to board the next flight. TOI had earlier reported how a domestic transfer facility was being readied for commissioning early next month to enable swift security check for transit passengers that will both ease congestion at the airport and reduce hassle that transit passengers currently face in Kolkata.

Source: Times of India

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