If you want to avoid queues at security checkpoints at the Terminal 3 (T3) of Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, plan your journey on Wednesdays (for domestic travellers) and Mondays (for international flyers).
According to an analysis by the Delhi airport, for domestic passengers flying out of T3, the average waiting time is 2.5 minutes and 75% are cleared within five minutes. With just 4.1 minutes maximum waiting time, Wednesday sees less crowd at this terminal of the airport. However, for international passengers it takes at least five minutes to clear the security check and about 56% are cleared within five minutes. For international passengers, the average waiting time is least on Monday with just 3.7 minutes and is highest on Thursday with 6.6 minutes.
At T3, for domestic passengers the maximum average waiting time is on Monday with at least four minutes but on Wednesday it is just 0.9 minute.
The analysis done through passenger tracking system (PTS) has also revealed that average waiting time at Terminal 1 (T1) is just 0.8 minute with 100% passengers getting cleared within five minutes. The maximum waiting time is least on Friday at T1 with a passenger having to wait for 2.3 minutes if he/she is at the end of the queue.
According to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) that is responsible for security at the IGI airport, through the study they are changing the deployment to reduce the waiting time further. The data is being collected from January 15.
“The waiting time at Delhi airport, which is country’s busiest, is still less than many airports in the US where it takes about 25 minutes to clear the security check. Through the XOVIS system, we have managed to identify the trend and increase our deployment accordingly,” MA Ganapathy, additional director general of CISF, said.
The XOVIS passenger tracking system has been installed and at both domestic and international departures of T3. Through the artificial intelligence, the cameras installed at the security checkpoint calculate how much time a passenger is spending after entering the security hold area. It also calculates the number of passenger standing in queues and also gives live updates for better management.
“The cameras, in addition to 3D sensors, and software cover up to 1,100 square feet and can be mounted from 2.2 to 30 metre height. It identifies crowded areas and bottlenecks at various points so that the airport operator can take immediate action,” a Delhi airport official said.
“In order to analyse and reduce passenger wait times at the security checkpoints post check-in & immigration / emigration counters, a system for passenger-flow analysis, management and optimisation called XOVIS was installed at IGI airport. The tool’s capabilities include queue length and fill level measurement, wait-time measurement, wait-time prediction and manning of counters. The XOVIS real time measurement and its reports are shared with CISF and immigration teams on a daily basis to deal with varying passenger loads effectively,” a spokesperson of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) said.
Terminal 1 used to be heavily crowded before one third operation of IndiGo and SpiceJet and complete operation of Go Air was shifted to Terminal 2. This makes T1 the least busy terminal with maximum waiting time at any given day or any given time not exceeding beyond 4.7 minutes.
“One reason why the security checkpoint looks congested is at the time of developing the airport, providing space for security is not considered. The security should be part of the infrastructure development so that they can tell the requirement,” Arvind Ranjan, former director general of CISF, said.
The Delhi airport, which handled about 70 million passengers in 2018, is the fastest growing airport in the world.
According to the internal report of Delhi airport operator DIAL, Delhi’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of four years is fastest among the world’s busiest airports handling at least 40 million passengers per annum.
The IGI airport registered 12.3% growth in passenger traffic in 2017 against 21% in 2016, slightly lower after Indonesia’s Hatta airport (12.8%), leaving behind China’s Guangzhou (9.3%) and Netherlands’ Schiphol (7.2%) in terms of annual growth. In the internal report, DIAL has predicted the traffic to reach 95 million in 2023 and said that the expansion plan is as per schedule.