Monday, June 17, 2013

Breaking news: GMR to develop Delhi airport on lines of Venice

Disclaimer: All events and incidents mentioned in this note are purely fictional and are not meant to offend any individual or organization, and are expected to be taken in a light spirit. 
Severe water logging at IGI Airport T3 has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the beleagured developers of Delhi Airport. Till yesterday, the severe downpour that resulted in knee-deep water entering the terminal building had the GMR authorities in massive fits. One senior official was also embarassed on being asked on his viewpoint in GMR being rated the world's second best airport only two days ago, and GMR management had put its PR team in full throttle to avoid any bad press in their name.
However, GMR has suddenly sensed a huge business opportunity out of this event. A senior official from GMR (who chose not to reveal his name) has revealed confidential information that GMR is now looking to project IGI airport as the world's "First floating airport", taking inspiration from the city of Venice.
In this offering, the passangers will be provided with state-of-the-art boats to wade through the airport. As per the proposal, the passengers will deboard from their cars/taxis directly into these boats which will then ferry them to the check-in-counters. CISF has also agreed to increase the width of their X-ray scanning gates to facilitate smooth movement of these boats. In addition, the airlines have also gone ahead and replaced all their terminal buses with boats. The CEO of an airline also known as "India's most democratic airline" has taken lead and started charging INR 500 per pessanger for this boat facility from terminal building to the aircraft. As per him, passangers who do not wish to pay this amount also have an option to swim to the aircraft, thereby claiming that "We do not believe in discriminating with our passangers. We always believe in providing them options, which we have." Other airlines are expected to follow suit and introduce similar charges effective today.
Sources reveal that the management is supercharged about the idea, as one official stated with visible excitement on his face, "We are looking to replicate the Venice model in our airport and take it a level up. Unlike Venice where people have to park their boats in front of a market or a complex, in our case the boats will be able to sail directly into the stores from where they can directly shop or buy stuff to eat." All the retail and food outlets at the airport have been instructed to modify their layouts to facilitate smooth movement of boats through the airport. The outlet owners are also super-excited about this new idea, though there are concerns around managing the traffic.
GMR has already sensed this as a huge revenue opportunity and has levied another "Floating airport facility" charge of INR 1000 on each outbound ticket. In addition, they will be introducing open air showers (charged at INR 500 per shower) where people drenched with dirt and mud can clean themselves up. GMR is also opening up laundry stores and shoe cleaning stores to ensure that people flying out of the airport do not do so in dirty shoes/clothes. Insiders peg the additional revenue collections in the Monsoon season at INR 500 crore. As has been the practice before, GMR will show in its books that it has spent INR 1000 crore on building these facilities and will hence show a net loss of INR 500 crore. Plans are being worked out to demand a further subsidy from the government for providing these unique facilities to the passangers. Apparently GMR has already reached out to some boat manufacturers in Europe to explore options of supplying these boats. Insiders again reveal that once the design specifications are received from these manufacturers, GMR will terminate the contracts abruptly and get these manufactured in China at one-fifth of the cost.
Delhi government is also following the developments with GMR with utmost seriousness, as the Chief Minister has called for an emergency meeting to explore whether the GMR initiative at IGI airport can be replicated across the entire city. Plans are being discussed to replace all the existing DTC buses with boats, as one DTC official chuckled, "As is, our buses cause more traffic jams on the road compared tot actual traffic movement due to their frequent breakdowns. These eco-friendly boats will definitely resolve the traffic woes on Delhi roads". Skeptics though argue that while water logging on Delhi roads is significant, it is still not enough to replace the DTC buses on a full time basis. To ensure this is an effective option, the government will have to make huge investments in blocking the spordaic drainage points for water exits on Delhi roads. However, proponents of this idea argue that there is no need to invest as with the burgeoning population, complete water clogging will start to happen automatically in this year itself, so that Delhi roads are all set to accept this eco-friendly mode of transport effective next year.

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