Mumbai Airport Woes

Last night I was at the International Airport Terminal to receive someone. It was well past 1 AM.

The Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Mumbai, though it left Frankfurt some 30 minutes late arrived on time at Mumbai International Airport at 1:22 AM (some 3 minutes earlier than scheduled). So, I was waiting in the car park, hoping to see the passenger in some 30 minutes given the recent good track record of clearing arrivals at Mumbai.

But the hope was short-lived. My passenger cleared immigration rather quickly but got stuck up in the baggage conveyor belt. She reported that they waited close to an hour before the baggages arrived, due to the breakdown of the conveyor belt ! This is simply unacceptable in an international airport. Mumbai can ill afford such negative reputation.

So the passenger came out at 2:40 AM, the airport managed to waste everybody’s time. She said that there were many transit passengers still waiting for their bags at the same belt from the same flight. This was pathetic, and reminds all of us that India has to work harder to fix glitches and public authorities have to pay penalties for undue delays in the provision of services to their customers. In any developed country, the airport operator would have to face fines if a complaint were to be lodged, not so in India. There is total apathy in India. I would not put the entire blame on the service provider. When the citizens, in this specific case the passengers, do not complain and accept their misfortunes (in a stoic manner), then how will things change on the ground for the better ?

In any case, such instances of poor performance abound in Mumbai (forget about Delhi), and if Mumbai wishes to gain the status of an international financial centre and a global metropolis, in the same league of a Singapore, or a Hong Kong, or a New York, then it better attend to such ills with rapid speed. Things have to be fixed, and international investors and visitors expect the place to work, come what may. Any parochial treatment of the situation under the guise of nationalism would go nowhere, but to our heads !

Well, it is good time to fix problems anyway.


Vijay Srinivasan
8th January 2011


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