New terminal at Chennai airport to be more disabled-friendly 

The new integrated terminal, which is under construction, at the Chennai city airport will be more disabled-friendly. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has begun training its engineers to create such inclusive facilities as part of an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) programme.

Work to construct the integrated terminal in the space between the domestic and international terminal began last July. The building, which can be used for both domestic and international flights, is scheduled to be completed in three years and will have the best of facilities including automation for passenger access, an official said.

Engineers were being trained to ensure that they are sensitive to the needs of disabled passengers when designing or approving designs of passenger amenities inside the new building, the official said.

The move is part of the ICAO requirement to improve airports following complaints from passengers that terminal and boarding facilities are not disabled-friendly. The AAI has nominated engineers for the programme which will be conducted in Delhi.

The aim is to prepare the engineers with the knowledge and skills needed to create and maintain the infrastructure at airports to help passengers with reduced mobility to pass through an airport in a safe and efficient manner.

The training will help engineers identify the special needs of the disabled and introduce appropriate facilities at different locations.

“We have started to train our engineers as many airport terminals are being upgraded. This [training] will help with the work being carried out in the Chennai airport as well,” said an official.

Though Chennai airport’s existing terminals were opened in 2013, toilets, lifts and boarding gates are not easily accessible to disabled passengers. Overall, the building offers better access to the disabled but, due to the work going on, passengers undergo certain inconveniences. Due to the construction work, boarding is done using shuttle buses.

Officials said the airport will be able to handle a capacity of nearly 30 million passengers per year once work is finished.

Source: The Times of India

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