Chaos at Mumbai airport as passenger rush halts traffic; Airport authorities react

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Updated: October 08, 2021 6:07 PM

With India’s active Covid-19 caseload waning over the past few months, many people took the opportunity to book trips during the festival season.

Mumbai airportVisuals shared on Twitter showed thousands of passengers standing in long queues snaking all over the check-in area. (Twitter/Prakarsh Gagdani)

Scenes of chaos unfolded at Mumbai’s international airport on Friday morning as a heavy rush of passengers brought the airport to a standstill.

Visuals shared on Twitter showed thousands of passengers standing in long queues snaking all over the check-in area. Several passengers who missed their flights amid the chaos put the blame squarely on the airport authorities for its poor crowd management.

The heavy rush of passengers even prompted IndiGo Airlines to tweet out an advisory. “Heavy rush at #Mumbai and #Chennai Airport. Passengers are advised to report early to allow sufficient time for security check,” the low-cost carrier tweeted.

The airport authorities attributed the surge in passenger numbers to the Navratri festival, which began on Thursday. With India’s active Covid-19 caseload waning over the past few months, many people took the opportunity to book trips during the festival season.

A spokesperson for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport said: “With the onset of the festive season, there has been a surge in passenger traffic and a sudden spike witnessed at CSMIA this morning. Similar experiences have also been witnessed in other city airports of the country.”

The airport has also increased security cover. “…owing to recent intelligence reports received by stakeholders and threat at another airport in the state, security measures have been further enhanced at CSMIA… CSMIA airport has deployed additional staff for a quicker turnaround at all the security checkpoints for a smoother passenger experience,” the spokesperson said.

The airport authorities also mentioned that following appropriate Covid-19 protocols also delayed passenger movement. Apologising to all the passengers who faced problems at the airport, the authorities said they were offering them necessary support.

Bollywood singer and composer Vishal Dadlani was among those who got stuck at the airport during the chaos. “T2 AT CSMIA is a shambles. Literally feels like we’re in the dark ages. Endless milling crowds, machines breaking down, tempers frayed, chaos everywhere. Staff doing their best but absolutely unable to cope. Who runs this absolute shitshow? Please tag them,” he tweeted.

Fintech company 5paisa.com CEO Prakarsh Gagdani also shared a picture of the chaos on Twitter, writing: “Mumbai Airport is a mess. It takes at least 1 hr to enter and do check-in and then this crowd for security check. How can someone board a flight even reaching 2 1/2 hrs before domestic flight. This is the real commercial capital of the country.”

Keeping in mind the festival season rush, Mumbai airport plans to open operations at Terminal 1 from October 20, “in keeping with the growing increase of passenger traffic and to ensure a seamless service experience”, the spokesperson said.

Journalist Sheela Bhatt tweeted that the situation was similar at Terminal 3 of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. However, there have been no reports of any passengers missing their flights so far.

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