GMR, which manages the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Shamshabad, was recently forced to introduce a charge of Rs.20 at the arrival section aka the airport village, for denizens who come to receive their friends and family. Why? Because there were ‘other’ people who came here to spend some time away from the City. However, this hasn’t gone down too well with the visitors.
You pay about Rs.1,200 in total for a trip to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) and back in a taxi, or fill your tank with Rs.600 worth of fuel, or even pay Rs.350 for a return trip or Rs.200 for a one-way trip in the Aero Express for each passenger. Then you pay a minimum parking charge of Rs.70.
Till here, people were willing to pay, although they weren’t too happy about it either. But the additional Rs.20 just to sit in the waiting lounge outside the arrivals, which until a few days back was free, is making them feel the pinch.
“Using the services of the airport is only becoming more expensive by the day. Just to sit on a chair, the airport is levying charges on us which, in my opinion, is unfair. Reaching the airport itself takes so much money, Rs.100 to Rs.150 for sitting in a visitor’s lounge inside the airport, is alright as you have an AC hall at your disposal. But Rs.20 more isn’t acceptable. It’s more like if you want good infrastructure at your disposal you have to pay for it,” said Vimal Singh, a businessman from the City who goes to the airport regularly to receive his clients.
“Last week, I was at RGIA to pick up my sister. She was coming from Dubai and five of us went to receive her. Each of us was charged Rs.20. It isn’t about paying Rs.20, it’s about paying for everything — from the cab, food, waiting at the sitting lounge, and parking. Everything has a price. Anyone coming or going to the airport needs to think twice because of the charges they levy on every little thing,” said Shailender S, an accounts executive working in a multinational bank.
A spokesperson from GMR, who wished anonymity, said that they have started charging customers only to unclog the arrival area.
“Earlier, the arrival sections for domestic and international flights were separate. We have made it common now. There have been instances where up to 15 people come to receive a single passenger. It gets very crowded. For a single person who has come for the same, he might not get space. Since the airport is open 24×7, a lot of people come here just to spend time, even couples. We introduced this charge to screen this crowd,” said the spokesperson.
On the other hand, if the flight is delayed, denizens have to wait a long time, even hours in the worst-case scenario.
“Our primary focus is the convenience of passengers. We want only people who come with a passenger or to receive someone to come here. The amount is affordable, and while many may complain, we have started charging this fee for the ease of passengers,” said the spokesperson defending the charge.