Monday, February 05, 2007

Rambles of an exhausted air-farer

Its 6AM - Chennai airport. The line at the security counter stretches for almost a mile, almost till the second entrance to the airport - thats ~100 people per queue, and 3 such queues; of sleep-deprived, bleary eyed people trying to catch a flight. It’s the same everywhere - Bangalore, New Delhi, Hyderabad, you name it. And the bottleneck lies at the security check process. Wonder why it can't be made faster. Maybe they should just open more counters, or put in place some faster checking process. Why should every individual be manually scanned ? I bet any automated scanning technology will payback in a few days given the amount of business time lost in waiting in these queues.

And what crowds! My auto driver in Chennai commented that he ferries more people to the airport these days, than to the railway station. A newspaper report today in the Mumbai Times says that record numbers of people flew in Q3, and the numbers are expected to increase going ahead. Unfortunately, infrastructure cannot keep pace unless growth is anticipated and planned ahead, given the lead times involved. Any decent construction project has a lifetime running in years. So unless we start investing now for 2010, clogged airports are going to be in vogue.

Any city, particularly the metros, when viewed from air after dark, is a sight to behold. From the glittering golden narrow patch of land called Mumbai to the shining white diamond coastline of Chennai, each city has its own "night-light-character". I bet that there is tourism potential in this - maybe we should have a low altitude "see-the-city-at-night" tour :-)
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