According to a Parliamentary committee, private airlines are preferring not to use aerobridges for boarding and deboarding planes in order to save money, and as a result, the elderly are feeling the brunt of having to use stairs.
"The Committee deplores this apathetic and unreasonable attitude of the private airlines," the report stated, adding that the Ministry of Civil Aviation should penalise such carriers.
For boarding or deboarding people, an aerobridge is a movable tunnel that extends from the airport building to the aircraft. For the use of aerobridge facilities, airlines must pay a fee to the airport.
On Monday, the Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture filed a report in Rajya Sabha claiming that, despite the presence of aerobridges in some airports, airlines do not use them for boarding and deboarding passengers, instead opting for staircases. "Despite charging passengers, private airlines do not utilise aerobridge facilities to cut operational costs," it stated.
As a result, passengers, particularly the elderly, have to bear the brunt of the situation and ascend the parking lot steps to board an aircraft, according to the report.
"The committee deplores this apathetic and unreasonable attitude of the private airlines and strongly recommends that its circular on the aforesaid subject may be strictly enforced," it mentioned.
In 2018, the Ministry of Civil Aviation sent a circular to all Indian airport operators indicating that if an aerobridge is provided for boarding and deboarding passengers, it must be utilised.
The Committee advised on Monday that the ministry perform surprise checks on a regular basis to guarantee compliance with their circular, adding that "in the event of a failure, the relevant private airlines should be penalised."