Millions of dollars of expenditure or millions for progress? That’s the question that looms large over the Indian aviation industry today. With new low-cost carriers springing up each day, the concept of low-cost airport terminals is also gaining momentum. But the question is, in a country like ours, will they work?
From being a single-player sector controlled by the government to an industry with multiple competent players, Indian aviation has come a long way. And now they are all set to pave the way for the next step towards development – low-cost airport terminals.
For the consumer
View this situation from a consumer’s perspective. Many today opt for no-frills airlines as they are a time-saving, cost-efficient option over the traditionally preferred railways. However, there seem to be some operational hassles for these airlines in terms of airport facilities. The single domestic terminals that cater to both regular airlines as well as low-cost carriers are under immense pressure due to unavailability of runways, delay of flights, disruption of schedules, and such.
Breath of fresh air
In such a scenario, low-cost terminals would be a breath of fresh air. A separate terminal for the no-frills airlines would eliminate dependence on the amenities of regular domestic terminals. This would mean better schedules, timely arrivals and departures and thereby, a more pleasurable experience. Travelers usually complain about the ‘not-so-organized’ ways of low-cost carriers. These can now be tackled more effectively by the airlines who can run independently of the ‘lots-of-frills’ airlines. On a macro level, this is another step towards development.
Space may be a constraint, but…
Many may argue that space being such a constraint, these separate terminals would cause unnecessary redundancy and that they are not an operationally optimal solution. However, the plan is for these terminals to come up outside the main city – in much the same way low cost carriers fly to airports like Luton in London instead of the ‘bursting at its seams’ Heathrow. The commute to the airport may take longer, but congestion in the air is likely to reduce. This will mean less time ‘in queue’ circling over airports waiting to land. It will also mean airlines can get rid off surcharges or at least lower fares which are padded up to take into account this extra fuel burn that happens while waiting. The truth is that Indian industries are coming of age, and this would be a welcome transition!
What do you think about low-cost terminals? What would you prefer as a traveler – a higher fare for a city centre airport or a dirt cheap fare that requires you to commute to the outskirts?