Having transited, duty-freed, coffeed, magazined, escalated, trolleyed, parked, taxied in 19 airports across 15 countries, excluding India, I can say with as much conviction as the family across the aisle that Indian airports suck. Just what are our benchmarks, the sheds of Addis Ababa, Kano, Islamabad? Why not the passenger traffic of Atlanta or Beijing, the cargo passage of Memphis or Hong Kong, the duty-free delights of Bahrain International Airport, the country window of the upcoming Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok) and the smell of Starbucks at any international airport worth its airstrip? Not only in India, but across the globe, this humble hub of air travel, the airport, is the Big Story, binding cities and countries, investors and businesses, travellers and workers. Airports affect not just us consumers, but also employees, consultants, customs, immigration, regulators.
Opinion in The Indian Express, April 25, 2006