By bappaditya paul
N S C Bose International Airport in Kolkata is all set to introduce paid porters to carry passenger baggage. The move will specially come handy for new and aged flyers travelling alone as the porters will double up as their guides inside the airport terminal. At present, complimentary porter service is available only for VIPs or VVIPs at a few airports in the country.
According to NSCBI Airport director, Dr B P Sharma, the initiative is aimed at making the airport passenger friendly and the paid porters will be made available in a month or so.
“At the departure level, paid porters will carry the baggage in trolleys right from the main entry gates and up to the security checkpoints inside the terminal. As regards the arrival level, the porters will carry the baggage from the conveyor belt and up to the taxi or bus stop in front of the terminal, as a passenger desires,” said the airport director. “We are hiring a private agency to run the service. Though the charges are yet to be finalised, it will range between Rs 100 and Rs 200 per porter.”
Similar to railway stations, the porters will wait for passengers in front of the entry gates on the first floor of the airport terminal and near the conveyor belts on the ground floor. A passenger willing to avail the services of a porter shall have to make an approach on the spot; advance requisition is not required. A paid porter will not only carry the baggage of a passenger but also guide him/her to the airline-specific baggage X-ray scanners and the check-in counters. If the passenger concerned has cabin bags as well, the porter will carry it up to the security checkpoints. On rendering the service, the porter will collect his payment directly from the passenger. “In short, the porter will also act as a guide to flyers,” Dr Sharma elaborated.
The new passenger terminal at Kolkata airport is spread over 1.80-lakh square metre area housing both the international and domestic zones under a single roof. Flyers, especially aged ones and those flying for the first-time, find it difficult to access/reach the necessary facilities inside this large terminal while towing their luggage.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report was first published in The Statesman on 4 September 2014.)