Airports Authority of India issues notice to Delhi airport on meeting service parameters

Massive overcrowding at IGI Airport has resulted in long waiting time for passengers as well as some of them missing their flights.

Massive overcrowding at IGI Airport has resulted in long waiting time for passengers as well as some of them missing their flights.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Monday issued notice to the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) to examine whether it was failing to meet the “service quality requirements” at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport as specified in the agreement signed between the two enterprises.

The notice comes as massive overcrowding at the IGI Airport resulted in long waiting time for passengers, with some of them missing their flights as the airport sees unprecedented travel demand that has exceeded pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. This forced the Minister for Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia, to step in and announce measures to ease congestion. Moreover, a Parliamentary panel on Transport, Tourism and Culture summoned DIAL CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar on Thursday.

“The AAI has asked DIAL to give status of services as per standards as specified in the Operations, Management and Development Agreement (OMDA) and mitigate measures initiated if any to remove the deficiency in services,” an AAI spokesperson said.

Under the agreement signed in 2006, the AAI granted DIAL the exclusive right for “operation, maintenance, development, design, construction, upgradation, modernization, finance and management” of IGI Airport for a period of 30 years, extendable for another 30 years.

According to Schedule 3 of the OMDA, the airport operator has to meet certain “objective service quality requirements” within a specific number of years after the signing of the agreement.

These include services such as maximum queuing time — within two years of the deal, the airport had to ensure that the maximum waiting time for check-in is five minutes for business class and 20 minutes for economy class passengers, and 95% of passengers cleared security check within ten minutes. Similarly, 95% of passengers should not take more than ten minutes for clearing customs, immigration and quarantine, which should be achieved within the first five years of the deal being struck.

On baggage delivery, the first bag has to arrive on the conveyor belt within ten minutes of the aircraft landing, and the last bag should arrive within 30 minutes. The airport should also ensure availability of wheelchairs within five minutes for 100% of passengers who need them.  There are other service parameters, too, which include time taken to find parking space, maximum waiting time for taxis, and response to customers’ complaints on phone.

If the airport operator fails to meet these requirements, it’s liable to pay a penalty of 0.5% of the monthly revenue for every month in which the standards are below the laid down requirements.

According to OMDA, DIAL has to submit quarterly reports to the AAI, detailing its compliance with the service requirements, and the last such report for the period of July 2022 to September 2022 was submitted on October 12.

The AAI spokesperson said that, if required, action would be taken in accordance with the provisions of the agreement.

The IGI Airport’s spokesperson declined to comment on the AAI’s letter.

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