Chennai airport update

Flying from Chennai airport is going to be a delightful experience when the two new terminals under construction are thrown open to the public by the end of the year. Getting stuck in a traffic block on the airport campus and lugging of baggage all the way from the road to the terminal buildings are going to be a thing of past as Airports Authority of India (AAI) has worked out an efficient passenger flow pattern for the new terminals. A departing passenger can drive up to the top floor of the three-level domestic or international terminal, alight from the car and enter through an all-glass entry door where CISF personnel will scrutinise the tickets and identity documents. Then the passenger will enter a vast departure area of the terminal, which has twin wing-like hovering roofs that provide 300-meter long, column-free space. Those who reach the airport by Metro Rail can walk into the terminal through a tube that will connect the station and the departure terminal. As the overarching roof of the terminal is going to be interlaced with glasses, light and shade will keep moving across the room with time. Instead of brick and mortar, the walls will be made of glass. Passengers will be able to see a lot of green inside the terminal. “Unlike other traditional airports in the world, lush gardens will be visible throughout the terminal which will create a unique bonding between engineering and nature, interior and exterior spaces,” said S Bhaduri, executive director of airport project. A row of check-in counters —52 each for domestic and international terminals—that run on Common User Terminal Equipment System (CUTE) will allow airlines to use any counter to check in passengers. Those who wish to do an e-check in can do that using four counters at each of the terminals. The Flight Information Display System (FIDS) monitors imported from Korea will flash status of flights while a CCTV monitoring system will be constantly monitoring every movement inside the whole of the terminal and also conveyor belts at arrival halls. After check-in, passengers proceed through the centre of the building for security check and further to the security hold area which is on the air side portion of the terminal building. Passengers will not miss announcements as the terminal will be equipped with latest public address and voice alarms imported from Singapore. If the boarding is through one of the seven aero bridges, passengers will use elevators to come down to reach the aerobridge. And if the aircraft is parked on the remote bay, passengers will climb down to the ground floor from where they will be taken by shuttle buses to the plane. Arriving passengers who enter the airport through aero bridges will walk to the arrival hall on ground floor and pick up their baggage from the conveyor belt before leaving the building. No where the passenger from arrival and departure could mingle with each other, Bhaduri said. Baggage unloaded from the aircraft will be brought to basement through a ramp. After screening, the bags will reach the conveyor on the arrival hall of the ground floor. “Both the terminals will be equipped with a sophisticated inline baggage handling system. This system consists of four departure conveyors. There are four arrival carousels in the domestic and three arrival carousels in the international terminal. The total length of conveyor will be approximately 3,500 meters and can handle 1,200 baggage per hour.” On the conveyor belts, baggage that were screened at the basement floor will be lifted automatically to the conveyor belts on the ground floor for the passengers to collect. Transit passengers will not have to walk all the way across the terminals. Airports Authority of India will install a glass tube to accommodate two travelators. The tube will connect domestic and international terminals. The entire terminal will be fire-proof as VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection & Alarm) that sounds an alarm much before a fire can break out is being installed at Departure level. The rate of failure of facilities are going to be very minimal as a building management system will control and monitor electrical, mechanical equipment, including water management system, escalator, elevators and lighting system.

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