GUWAHATI, Sept 16 - The Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport here is running out of capacity as far as air traffic flow is concerned!
Although equipped for handling an air traffic load of 1.5 million passengers annually, the Guwahati airport is bearing the load of nearly 3.5 million passengers per annum, a development attributed to the quantum jump in air passenger traffic, especially in the last fiscal that witnessed a nearly 40 per cent rise, the highest ever.
To live up to the challenge, the authorities have now increased additional security hold area by 250 square metres and requisitioned additional strength of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel.
Compared to the air traffic flow of 27.961 lakh passengers in 2015-16, the last fiscal year (2016-17) recorded a footfall of over 38.652 lakh passengers, registering an all-time high load increase of nearly 40 per cent.
Official sources informed that there are plans for massive overhaul and expansion of the Guwahati airport as it is attracting record air traffic flow, which is very encouraging from the region�s point of view.
The capacity is not gauged just by how many people you can physically fit in the building, but also by health and safety regulations, which is why it is of paramount importance to meet certain standards.
�While the increase in air passengers has been on the rise, most of them being domestic ones, the year 2016-17 surpassed all previous rates of increase in a fiscal,� sources told The Assam Tribune.
Further, the year 2014-15 had witnessed an air traffic passenger flow of 25.87 lakh, and the footfall in the subsequent year stood at 27.96 lakh.
With limited resources, the unprecedented increase in air traffic also means inconvenience to the passengers, who are now seen struggling to get the facilities they are entitled to.
The problem has been compounded with the additional load of Haj pilgrims every year.
This includes access to trolleys and washrooms (arrival), which according to frequent fliers, are very hard to avail as they are not sufficient in number.
When contacted, a senior official of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) said that keeping in view the hardships faced by the passengers, the Guwahati airport authority has already written to its headquarters seeking procurement of additional luggage trolleys.
�I admit that some of the trolleys are in very bad shape. And after assessing the same, we have placed an order for 500 new trolleys which should arrive by the first part of October. At present, we have 300 trolleys, which obviously is not sufficient,� the official said.
�As far as the washroom is concerned, renovation work on one of the two washroom areas will soon be over and made available to passengers,� he assured.