The facility to witness aircraft movement and airport operations from close quarters has remained out of bounds for visitors since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
TIRUCHY: Waning interest among visitors and unsuccessful bids to rope in a contractor for operations have led authorities to decide on closing down the visitors’ gallery at the international airport’s old terminal building. The facility to witness aircraft movement and airport operations from close quarters has remained out of bounds for visitors since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pointing out that all their three attempts last year to float a tender for a contractor to run the visitors’ gallery evinced no interest, Airport Director P Subramani said, “We, therefore, decided to discontinue the facility. Many airports, including the Chennai International Airport, do not have such galleries anymore.”
SA Mubashir, the vice president of Tiruchy Tourism Federation, said, “Earlier, visitors showed interest in watching aircraft take off and land, from the gallery. Now, such interest has died as they can watch such flight operations on the internet. Therefore, most airports don’t have such galleries.”
Sources said that several contractors did not show interest in taking up the gallery operations due to the same reason. “An entry fee of about Rs 50 (per adult) and Rs 30 (per child) was being charged for the visitors’ gallery. There, however, was not much response to the facility and it used to get only a few visitors. Most contractors were aware of it.
That’s why none of them showed any interest in taking over the facility,” a source said. Further, officials pointed out that even the new terminal would not have such a facility.”It was an essential component of the old airport architecture. It has no place in modern design. If that facility was getting good response, we would have continued it. We hence didn’t have any plan to continue it even in the upcoming terminal,” a senior airport official said.