Mumbai: Due to the surge in international arrivals, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) is grappling with the problem of mounting luggage. Given the high footfall, the conveyor belts are overflowing with baggage and even after clearance they are lying unclaimed outside the arrival gates.
An employee handling the luggage said, “There are over 300-350 bags lying outside the terminal while other 600-650 bags were scattered next to the conveyor belts. During the peak hours of operation, which is usually after 10pm, we have witnessed a pile up of over 3,000 bags.”
Besides the surge in the number of fliers, another reason behind the 'heavy' problem are the improper tags pasted on baggage by the foreign airports, said a courier company attendant. Given the long-wait in getting a conveyor belt assigned, the airlines are packing the luggage of their passengers on flights different from the one they are travelling or loading them on connecting flights. Due to the move, the courier attendants are now tasked with the additional responsibility of sending the luggage to the address of passengers. “The passengers can receive their luggage within 21 days of their arrival, if not then the airline is liable to compensate them,” said the attendant.
Many passengers have been affected by the problem. Mahesh Dodhia, a resident of Nairobi, Kenya, has not received three out of the four bags. “I arrived in India on Dec 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 for the past four days to pick my luggage, however, I haven’t been able to fetch mine.
The airport authorities are not helping and there is no proper response from Kenya Airways –the flight I took. I am facing great inconvenience.”
Additionally, a representative from Holiday Inn Hotel said that international passengers are taking more than two-and-half 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 is an arduous task especially when the hotel guests arrive at night.”
However, the Mumbai airport spokesperson said that the stockpiled luggage is not the airport’s responsibility. If someone faces this problem they should contact their respective airline. “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. The chances of the luggage handling team mixing up or misplacing luggage are very slim. We are handling the surge in passengers without hiccups.” she added.
The Free Press Journal tried to reach out to Kenya Airways and other airlines for a comment but calls to them went unanswered.
“I arrived in India on Dec 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 for the past four days to pick my luggage, however, I haven’t been able to fetch mine.”
Mahesh Dodhia, flyer
“Our responsibility is just to provide a belt to the airlines. If someone faces a problem they should contact their respective airline. Mumbai airport's baggage handling system is one of the best in the country.”
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