India: all government-run airports are to set up or increase food counters with affordable pricing

Passengers travelling out of Chennai airport may soon be able to grab a bite that’s easy on their pockets, as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is considering an increase in the number of food counters that sell snacks and beverages at a reasonable cost.

Following a circular issued by AAI headquarters in Delhi, all government-run airports are to set up or increase food counters with affordable pricing. Smaller airports have started to float tenders to install them. Chennai airport, however, may not float a fresh tender but ask its food and beverages (F&B) contractor — Travel Foods Services (TFS) — to set up the stalls.

A senior official of AAI said, “We will consider increasing the number of stalls if there is a demand.”

The company has already set up four such stalls at the terminals following several complaints from passengers on the high cost of food items and water bottles. A TFS official said, “We have two stalls each at the domestic and international terminals. These shops cater to the demand. AAI also displays information about the presence of the stalls on flight information boards.”

As airlines have started to operate flights to small towns, encouraged by regional connectivity scheme, the number of domestic departures has gone up. There is a need for more such shops, as the domestic terminal handles as many as 30 night flights. Passengers reach the airport well before the odd departure hours, and may need access to stalls selling food and beverages at reasonable prices.

Tea and water are priced at above Rs50 at most shops inside the terminals and the security hold area where passengers wait to board planes.

A passenger said the existing shops that sell F&B at cheaper rates should be moved to a prominent location as it was difficult to locate the shops inside the terminals. “The staff manning the stall try to sell a water bottle for Rs50, if the passenger fails to notice that the stall sells items at cheaper rates.”

Sources said the existing F&B contractor did not want more such stalls to be established as it would affect the sales in other stalls that sell products at premium rates.

Source: The Indian Times

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