Surat (Gujarat) [India]: Surat, the city of diamonds and textiles, may be the economic powerhouse of Gujarat, but visitors from other states in India and beyond who travel to and from the Surat International Airport do not leave a positive impression. Despite having the title of “International Airport”—Air India Express operates a single flight between Surat and Sharjah—Surat airport lags behind other developed airports in the country when it comes to providing passenger-friendly basic services like WiFi, bank ATMs, pre-paid taxi service, and CAT-I runway light for better visibility.
Kaushik Das, a passenger on Air India flight AI778 from Surat airport to Kolkata, tweeted from his official Twitter account to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Surat Airport, and Air India, noting that the Surat airport does not have WiFi for passengers. “At the airport, there is no WiFi, which is a fairly basic utility that is accessible even at little railway stations.” If a passenger’s aircraft is delayed for several hours, the wait becomes even more excruciating without WiFi.”
Many others, like Kaushik Das, are experiencing similar difficulties at Surat International Airport. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been unable to convince private or public sector banks to set up ATMs to allow travellers to withdraw money and use other banking services.
Outstation tourists at the Surat airport are having serious challenges, especially if they arrive late at night. The airport has not provided travellers with pre-paid cab services, which are accessible at the majority of airports in the country. Passengers must rely on Ola or other cab services and autos to get to their destination.
Due to the significant visibility issue on the runway during the monsoon and winter seasons, flights landing at the Surat airport are redirected to neighbouring airports. Surat airport has modest approach lighting for aircraft, which is insufficient to meet the airport’s requirements for combating fog-like conditions. The airport authorities and the AAI neglected to install CAT-I lighting approaches on the runway to improve visibility.