Chennai: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the private contractor handling the parking at the Chennai airport have moved the booths around to reduce the time that it takes for a vehicle to exit after the time-punched card is issued. Recently, the six-lane tollbooths that issue the parking slips into the domestic airport were shifted closer to the terminal. “This means that they have lesser distance to cover to the exit in the same 7 minutes, so that they don’t have to pay a parking fee,” said Airport Director HS Suresh.
It’s been three months and a bit, since the parking system at the Chennai airport was revamped. And yet, the number of grumbling relatives who come to pick people up, hasn’t really come down. This is because the parking contractor Garuda Aviaton wasn’t able to do away with the rule that they brought in - any car entering the airport must exit within 5 minutes or pay the charge for an hour, which is `60.
After City Express reported that plenty of passengers and relatives were paying up for defaulting on that rule, the AAI managed to stretch that time frame to 7 minutes. “After we stretched the time limit, we even recommended that the rule be done away with,” admitted Suresh, “But the orders for that are yet to come through,” he added. With that attempt having stalled, the airport director and parking contractor have been continously working on reducing barricades and obstacles that tend to delay a person from exiting the airport fast.
\"This means that they have lesser distance to cover to the exit in the same 7 minutes,\" said an official.
On Sunday, the staff cleared a large portion of space near the international terminal exit and created a larger ‘road’ section, so that vehicles had a larger route towards the exit tollbooth. “We feel that it is the international air passengers and people who come to pick them up who are really affected by this problem,” he said and added, “That is why we are concentrating on streamlining the extry and exit lanes for them.”
With Garuda Aviation services having utilised the parking space and increased the capacity to almost 2,500 parking slots, they will be able to cater to the increased rush when the new terminals finally open. With a growth spurt in aviation in Chennai imminent, the number of passengers and cars is bound to go up. Hopefully, the Airport Metro Rail station will be completed within a year from now and by the time the project is live, will bring down the parking chaos at the airport.