By Muhammad Aslam
ISLAMABAD, June 19 (APP): Despite restraint of resources, Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) – 3rd largest and busiest facility after Jinnah and Allama Iqbal Airports in the country, is handling 390,000 passengers, 3,060 flights and 900,000 visitors every month in a highly professional manner.
With passage of time and Rs 479 million’s recent renovation, the airport has become a preferred choice for both domestic and international passengers due to the improved facilities being extended by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) in collaboration with 11 different supportive agencies and departments round the clock.
The BBIA, being the federal capital airport where foreign dignitaries, politicians, businessmen, passengers from surrounding localities of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi frequently visit, remains bustling with activities as flights of three domestic and 13 international airlines land and take-off even at all odd hours.
Ayesha Shahid, who arrived at the airport last week from US, said being a `fairly regular international traveler, it was a great experience to land at the BBIA. “When I landed, all the procedures were systematic, quick and well managed. Even I found free Wi-Fi instantly. The luggage arrived on time and any questions I had, were answered b helpful staff all around,” she remarked.
Another passenger, Haider Naqvi, said “With the recent renovations, the airport is really well constructed and has good services. But, a little expensive.”
Farhan Sarwar, another traveler, said visiting the BBIAP was overall a good experience, adding, “No mismanagement was seen as I had heard.”
Sultan Ahmed, who travelled from Karachi to Islamabd, said it was a pleasure to see the renovated bathrooms clean and no smell.” Good work, however, it needs regular maintenance.”
Spokesperson of Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) Ms Fariha Shah told APP that the airport was handling approximately 13,000 passengers both domestic and international regardless of traveling class, 51 scheduled departure/arrival flights, 25,000 to 30,000 meeters and greeters per day.
Because of passengers’ heavy traffic, she said, it was a tough job for the airport staff to maintain quality of service and to satisfy each and every passenger, but the airport management was ensuring it in an efficient way.
“Due to the very nature of airports, there are other functionaries or agencies which play their respective role to ensure smooth working at the airport, besides safety and security with all ease of passengers as well as visitors,” she said.
Elaborating, the spokesperson said, BBIA had approximately 11 different agencies/functionaries including Immigration and Passport, National Database and Regulatory Authority (NADRA), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan Customs, Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA), Airport Security Force (ASF), Bureau of Immigration Overseas Employment, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Overseas Pakistani Foundation (OPF) to facilitate passengers.
Besides, she said, there were three domestic airlines (PIA, Shaheen and Air Blue) and approximately 13 foreign airlines operating from the airport to domestic and international designations and vice versa.
Primarily, she said, a passenger engaged with the airlines’ staff as he/she went through the boarding or arrival process at airport. “In case of any delay or cancellation of flights, the passenger’s traveling experience turns from good to bad and further worsens when he/she is not properly handled or given correct and timely information. ”
Courteous behavior of the functionaries, along with comfortable, clean and safe environment provided by PCAA also count in the overall travel experience.
She said the authority had set up special complaint cells in all lounges, concourse hall and duty manager’s office where passengers could register their grievances and give feedback to further improve the existing services.
Passengers can also call at toll free number 0800-00114 or 111-222 114 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or a web form available at CAA website: http://atfmslive.caapakistan.com.pk/pcs/
Once the complaint is received, it is entered into a software system on a priority and a tracking number is allotted. The complaint is then forwarded to the relevant department,airline or agency whichever applicable for investigation purposes.
An interim reply is also sent to the passenger within 48 hours of the complaint registration. A senior PCAA officer is deputed to review and resolve the complaint, which is also communicated to the passenger and the query is closed in the system.
Summary of the unresolved complaints is regularly compiled and presented to the airport management for quick resolution in order
to provide improved services to air travelers.
The spokesperson said average 60 complaints were registered
with the designated cells per month that was not a worrisome
figure, keeping in view the volume of passengers’ traffic.
Giving details, Fariha said the nature of complaints vary from minor thefts to missing precious items from passenger baggage, delay and cancellation of flights to non-issuance of boarding card, late receipt of passenger baggage and provision of low quality food items.
The PCAA, Fariha said, had introduced branded food outlets at the airport besides providing clean and cold drinking water for passengers and their meeters/greeters, appropriate seating for elderly citizens in Concourse Hall, 32 public toilets in general car parking to keep the quality service intact.
Recently, she said, the authority launched an awareness campaign titled “Passenger Rights” during which it educated the passengers about their rights related to lost baggage.
“The BBIA management has taken drastic security measures to ensure secure and safe environment for passengers by installing close circuit television cameras at strategic locations, which helped in curbing criminal elements,” she remarked.