Friday, October 12, 2007

Change is in the Air(ports)

I am taken aback by the crowds as I enter Pune airport. While the airport has been recently renovated with a larger departure and arrivals area, Pune's growing stature as an emerging center of high-tech companies has kept the airport busy, with new flights being added every other week and ever-increasing air-travellers. With the airport's only runway under maintenance, flights are now allowed during a limited period, making it more difficult to stagger flight schedules and reduce over-crowding.

The new extended parking area for the aircraft is a welcome addition (earlier no more than three or four planes could park here at the same time). On the ground, the Kingfisher girls seemed everywhere (mostly looking pretty and doing nothing!). I think the new Jet Airways uniforms turned out better than I expected them to be when I first saw the ads. The yellow jackets over black tunics look very smart indeed. The jackets come off during service and are back again when they wish you goobye as you exit the airplane. Incidently, I also notice an additional flight attendant on-board which makes for faster service during the flight (this extra flight attendant actually had a seat reserved among the passengers for take-off and landing). With Kingfisher, Jet Airways seems to finally have some competition, and I like how they are responding thus far.

I alight at Mumbai's domestic airport to another surprise, a pleasant one! The spanking new Arrivals hall is bright, spacious, and looks very modern. It's amazing how the airport has been given a face-lift even as record passengers continued to travel through it during this period of renovation. And what a face-lift this is. Completely amazing, if you have seen how the airport was before. The welcome change continues way past the entrance and to the curbside where fountains flow and white steel structures curve gracefully into the night sky. Mumbai finally has an airport it deserved all these years.

I am waiting to see how the International airport develops (renovation is underway now); hopefully it will be even better than the new domestic airport. Change is in the air, even if it comes a little too slowly for many of us. "Be the change you want to see in the world", Mahatma Gandhi's words reminds me and everyone else from a banner as I walk out of the airport.


Unknown said...

The international airport still has a very dismal Duty Free section. However, as you said change is in the air. When you hit a complete low, things can only get better from there. :)

Anonymous said...

@vishal: Oh yes! The Duty Free is not even worth talking about right now. But seeing the Domestic Airport, I am optimistic. :-)