Aviation Ministry insists on use of aerobridges

The Union Civil Aviation Ministry has cracked down on airlines seeking to improve their turnaround time by allowing some passengers to exit through the rear of aircraft using a step ladder, even when an aerobridge facility was available from the front.

Passengers alighting from the rear usually had to take an airport coach or walk longer — something passengers had complained about and the Air Passengers Association of India had pointed out in its newsletter.

A circular from the Ministry says henceforth passengers can only alight through the front door of the aircraft once an aerobridge is docked. The circular mentions that airlines should be using aerobridges more frequently at airports where these are available.

“It has been observed by senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials that airport aircraft parking stands having passenger boarding bridges are not being utilised fully. The non-usage of passenger boarding bridges is causing inconvenience to passengers,” it read.

“Since disembarking through the rear door using a step ladder has been stopped, we will need more turnaround time,” an airline official feared.

He explained that an Airbus 320 aircraft with 180 passengers would need between 7 to 9 minutes to deplane if both doors were in use. “If passengers only exit through an aerobridge, an average time of 15-20 minutes is required for disembarkation. This will definitely affect our on-time performance,” the airline official said.

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