After a significant drop in traffic due to lockdown and travel restrictions imposed by many states owing to second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, Delhi Airport has started witnessing growth in passenger numbers slowly but steadily post relaxation in lockdown and travel norms by various states in June.
Most of those who flew were in Visiting Family and Friends category (48 %) which was followed by Vacation (25%) and Business travelers (19%). In June 2020, after gradual lifting of two-month long country-wide lockdown, majority of air travelers were of Visiting Family and Friends category, followed by Business travelers. While those going for Vacation was only 2%. During pre-COVID times (in June 2019), around 44% flyers were Vacationers, while 41% were of Visiting Family and Friends category. Delhi Airport has witnessed over three times rise in domestic passenger numbers from around 18,000 per day in mid of May 2021 to over 62,000 per day at the end of June 2021. Similarly, the number of international travelers grew from around 4,500 per day in mid of May to nearly 7,500 per day in June end.
Mumbai, Patna, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Leh, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Jammu and Kashmir have emerged as top 10 destinations from Delhi in the month of May and June, 2021. To ensure safe and healthy environment in the terminals for the passengers since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Delhi Airport has proactively taken several measures. It includes sanitization of terminals, deep and frequent cleaning of high touch areas, common passenger areas like lift, elevators, handrails, glass walls, trolleys, CUSS machines, counters, washrooms, boarding gates etc., using disinfectants and UV light towers.
Apart from this, auto dispensing hand sanitizers and disinfectant mats have been placed at strategic locations and Bio Medical Waste Bins deployed at all areas of terminals. Sneeze shields have been installed at all airline counters and CISF checkpoints to minimize the risk of virus transmission.
During second wave of COVID-19, Delhi Airport introduced the use of Luminometers to ensure surfaces of high passenger contact areas are safe, hygienic and free from any living or dead bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms after disinfection exercise. Delhi Airport is first airport in India to do so.
Luminometers are very sensitive devices that can measure even weak emissions of visible light coming from a sample, by means of a photomultiplier tube. After a surface is cleaned, a test swab is taken and put in a Luminometer. It measures the intensity of the light emitted from a sample, and displays the test result in Relative Light Units (RLU), which is used to determine if the sample has passed or failed.
This rapid test results help DIAL to take immediate remedial action in response to a fail test result. The test surface or area with a fail test result can be re-cleaned and retested, ensuring that hygiene management goals are achieved.
To ensure social distancing is maintained inside the terminals, DIAL has put up floor marking at various places. Also, announcements are made at regular intervals of 5 to 15 minutes, advising passengers to follow COVID protocols of wearing mask, frequent sanitization of hands and maintaining social distance.
DIAL has also installed AI-based passenger tracking system, which sends alerts to terminal staff if it detects any breach of social distancing norms at the entry gates, check-in, security check and security hold areas.
Apart from these, Terminal operation staff have been deployed to encourage passengers to abide by COVID protocols.
In view of the pandemic situation, DIAL has ensured that air inside the terminal is clean and safe for passengers. To ensure this, fresh air is injected inside the terminal every 10 minutes after passing it through HEPA filters and UV-C lighting, which cleans air from any kind of pollutants.
All these efforts of DIAL was appreciated by the travelers. During a recent survey on Passenger experience at Delhi Airport, about 99% flyers felt CONFIDENT of flying from Delhi Airport.
By Tapas Bhattacharya