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India: International Passengers At Mumbai Airport Waited For Hours At Immigration

Mumbai airport experiences one of its busiest hours on November 7 as passengers arriving on overseas flights in the early hours of Sunday found themselves in huge lines at the immigration booth. Airport officials stated the throngs were due to the holiday season and that the wait time to cross immigration was roughly a half-hour.

Passengers who resorted to social media to express their displeasure, on the other hand, claimed they had to wait for hours. A traveller, Omkar Pai, uploaded a clip-on Twitter around 03:23 AM showing the arrival lobby area crowded with hundreds of passengers waiting in lines to complete immigration. “This is what 5 hours of queues are at the Mumbai airport. Mismanagement at its peak. Do not travel international, I repeat do not travel,” he tweeted.

Authorities of Mumbai airport responded on Twitter, stating that immigration desks were clogged early Sunday morning due to an increase in passenger flow following the holiday season. According to the tweet, it caused temporary delays at the immigration counters. “Between 01:30 AM and 03:45 AM, both arrival and departure immigration counters experienced extended queue times of up to 24 minutes,” the airport tweeted, adding that its officers were in constant communication with the authorities involved in order to clear the congestion as quickly as possible while adhering to security protocols.

Senior citizens, moms with newborns, and pregnant women were also passed through the diplomatic counters, according to the airport.

“It’s not like we’re celebrating holidays in India for the first time. You should have learned from the domestic rush,” a woman tweeted. Mumbai International terminal has been in the headlines a number of times for the weekend crowds during the festive or holiday season.

Terminal 2 witnessed horrifying situations with large crowds at the security booths on October 8, Friday. The pictures of the terminal were shared over social media by several passengers. On October 17, the world’s busiest single crossover runway airport witnessed 91,904 passengers’ transit through it, a record since the Covid-19 outbreak swept the world. This comes as the number of Covid-19 cases in the country continues to fall, and states have relaxed travel restrictions.

The most recent (pre-Covid) per day passenger milestone was set on January 2020, when Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) processed over 1,38,999 passengers (domestic as well as international). In March 2020, Mumbai airport handled a total of 2,144,125 passengers and 17,292 flights (domestic and foreign passengers and flights included), following which the pandemic struck the sector and the country as a whole. Meanwhile, airport officials reported that the number of travellers choosing to travel by plane has been steadily increasing.

In terms of domestic operations, CSMIA reported that IndiGo had the most flights 38,833 passengers followed by GoFirst, Air India, Vistara, and AirAsia. According to CSMIA, Air India had the greatest number of international passengers with 10,226 passengers, followed by IndiGo and Vistara.

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