$200b to be spent on new airports in 20 years

DUBAI — Inderjit Singh, Executive Director of the Airports Authority of India, yesterday said that over $200 billion is likely to be spent in the next two decades on the design, development and construction of new airport terminals and reconstruction and upgrading of the existing ones, but warned that an architect’s dream can be a nightmare for passengers.

By Isaac John (Chief Business Reporter)

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Published: Wed 7 Jun 2006, 9:27 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:22 PM

He said at the Airport Build & Supply Exhibition in Dubai that airport designers and operators are guilty of treating passengers with disdain.

“Billions of dollars have been spent worldwide on the development of air terminals over the past 20 years or so and the outcome is often a potpourri of designs, styles and shapes resulting in monsters of steel, plate glass and concrete. Over $200 billion more is likely to be spent in the next two decades in the Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent, CIS and the Asia-Pacific region," said Inderjit.

“The need of the day is not a grandiose statement of architectural styles vying with one another for awards, but safe and secure terminal buildings that are functional and flexible, convenient and comfortable, spacious and aesthetically pleasant.”

Airport terminal buildings should offer easy access, provide an intelligent level of information, have a minimum of imposed controls, but offer a wide range of customer services and consumer related concessionaries. "They should guarantee a quick response to passenger demands, be committed to reducing the traveller irritation factor. Security checks should be as unobtrusive yet effective. The movement of passengers should be smooth and unobstructed.”

“An air traveller, the customer, is often referred to as ‘pax’ — a horrible word — in airline and airport parlance,” he told an audience of airport trade visitors during the exhibition’s seminar programme.

“Actually the passenger is the sole reason for our existence.

“The air traveller is not a unit to be regarded as being of a basic standard, usually minuscule in size, somewhat lacking in both intelligence and general ability to find his way about. Not an individual to be treated with disdain, and even with contempt at times, with his special desires all too often ignored, or at best treated with reluctance.

He added: “All of us who are either airline or airport employees, benefiting perhaps from special treatment, should put ourselves in the position of a mere ‘pax’ at a foreign airport late at night, tired, bewildered and even perhaps ill. This will give us a flavour of what millions of air travellers have to put up with.

“As soon as everybody, high and low, in world air transport recognises this fact, the sooner the system will improve. This is the age of the customer, who should be priority No.1. The passenger is our livelihood, our income, our future, not an interruption of our daily lives.

Organised by Streamline Marketing Group and concluding this evening, the Airport Build & Supply Exhibition has attracted a record number of almost 400 exhibitors to Airport Expo Dubai this week, a 25 per cent increase from last year.

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