Mumbai International Airport's new burden: After passenger congestion, it's stockpile of luggage

An employee handling the luggage at the Mumbai airport says,” There are over 300 to 350 bags lying outside the terminal and a further 600 to 650 lie outside at the conveyor belts inside the building.”

Pranay ManiarUpdated: Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 05:35 PM IST
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Luggage piled up at arrival terminal at Mumbai International Airport | Pranay Maniar

Mumbai:  The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is witnessing a fresh problem amidst the passenger surge at Terminal 2.

Hundreds of unclaimed baggage are lying at the arrival gate waiting for their respective owners, who couldn’t pick them after landing, to arrive and take them.

An employee handling the luggage at the airport says,” There are over 300 to 350 bags lying outside the terminal and a further 600 to 650 lie outside at the conveyor belts inside the building.”

“During the peak hours of operation, which is usually after 10pm, we have witnessed a pile up of over 3,000 bags,” he added.

A courier company attendant cited long queues of in-bound passengers and baggage tag issues from the airports they boarded the flights to be the reasons.

“In the wake of increased passenger follow Mumbai airport, passengers are not receiving their luggage at the conveyor belts, this is happening due to long lines at arrivals and baggage tag issues. Thus, airlines both Indian and foreign have resorted to fly the extra luggage on different flights as the passengers, so we have to take the additional efforts of couriering the luggage to their address or load up the luggage on to connecting flights,” he said, adding: "The passengers can receive their luggage within 21 days of their arrival, if not then the airline is liable to compensate them."

Several hundred families have been affected by this, including, Mahesh Dodhia, a resident of Nairobi, Kenya, who has not received three out of the four bags he carried to his trip to Mumbai.

“I arrived in India on December 9 to attend a wedding. The airline has not delivered my luggage that had my wardrobe for the wedding. I have been coming to the airport since the past four days to pick my luggage, however I haven’t been able to fetch mine.” he said.

He further adds, “The authorities at the airport are not helping and I have not received a proper response from Kenya Airways, the carrier I flew to India on, and I am facing great inconvenience”.

Additionally, a representative from Holiday Inn Hotel said that international passengers are taking over 2½ hours to come out of the airport as the conveyor belts are unable to cope with the high passenger influx. “We are facing extreme inconvenience as we are waiting for 2-3 hours and then helping them with their luggage. This an arduous task especially when the hotel guests arrive at night.”

When asked about this to the airport officials, the Mumbai Airport spokesperson said, “The stockpiled luggage is not the airport’s responsibility, if someone is being faced by this problem, they should contact their respective airline and our responsibility is just to provide a belt to the airlines' '.

“Mumbai Airport's baggage handling system is one of the best in the country and the chances of the luggage handling team mixing up or misplacing luggage are very slim, and we are handling the surge in passengers without hiccups.” she added.

At the time of filing this story, we tried to reach out to Kenya Airways and other airlines for a comment, but our calls went unanswered.

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