Today, airports are not just about arrivals and departures; in fact, they encompass a whole new dimension, replete with high-end technology, entertainment and innovative services. Expressing views on this, a Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) spokesperson says, “Customer expectations have changed dramatically in the past decade. Passengers now expect excellence and personalisation as standard, and their requirements are constantly rising. Airports have to continually bring in innovation and reinvent themselves to meet the ever evolving passenger need.”

Indian airports are upping their game constantly, thereby ushering in a new phase of aviation. Whether it’s Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports making it big in terms of digitalisation and automation or Chennai airport developing a five-screen multiplex in its premises, it is safe to say that Indian airports are now coming on par with their international counterparts.

We look at what some of the top Indian airports are doing to enhance the customer experience.

Entertainment spot 

Flight delays can be really frustrating; but what if you get the opportunity to enjoy a live concert amidst your travel misery? Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru is building a one-of-its kind entertainment venue, which will be used to host multi-genre events such as concerts, theatrical performances, sporting events even large-scale conferences.

The venue will be built by Embassy Group, India’s real-estate and urban infrastructure developer; Phase 1 Experiences, a large-scale events organisation; and Live Nation Entertainment, a live entertainment company.

A supersize dome will accommodate about 9,000 people. Another dome will hold a capacity of 2,000 people. An expansive outdoor space will be available for open-air events and a contemporary pop-up zone designed for social networking and curated experiences will also be on offer.

The airport is robustly expanding its infrastructure, and has recently pumped in around `130,000 million. Expansion plans comprise the operations of the south runway and technological updates for a hassle-free passenger experience.

Easy process

When it comes to tech-driven check-in, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Hyderabad sits at the forefront.

The GMR-led Hyderabad airport has implemented an Automated Tray Retrieval System (ATRS) at domestic departures and body scanners that aims to make flyers’ check-in process smooth and seamless.

To bring in more automation, the airport has launched trials of a ‘Self-Bag Drop’ (SBD) facility at the domestic departures terminal. This means that domestic travellers can print their boarding cards and baggage tags from any check-in kiosk and proceed to drop their bags at the SBD facility. As of now, this service is available for passengers flying only on Indigo and subsequently, it would be extended to passengers of all other domestic airlines.

According to Telangana Today, SGK Kishore, chief executive officer, GMR Hyderabad International Airport said, “During 2020, Hyderabad International Airport would roll out face recognition based biometric, paperless boarding services covering all domestic flights post all regulatory clearances.”

Recreation and revitalisation 

An ideal blend of state-of-the-art technology and rich architecture, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) boasts having a unique visual identity of its own. This is characterised by its splendid Jaya He Museum that celebrates Indian art. Enjoy free guided tours of the museum as you depart from Terminal 2.

As the second busiest airport in India, CSMIA finds it imperative to offer experiences that are rich in the relaxation quotient. For instance, they have a dog therapy facility wherein friendly canines are trained to comfort and de-stress anxious travellers. With this, the airport became the first in the country to introduce such an initiative. They also have a salon with grooming services for both men and women that help passengers spruce up before their flight.

The experience at CSMIA is further enhanced by their ‘order from anywhere’ food technology. This enables passengers to multi-order on a singular invoice before their flight, facilitate an express pickup, scan to order (without the download of any app) and even get delivery at boarding gates through a mobile application, QR codes scan and kiosk setup.

Philanthropic character 

Chennai International Airport sets the right precedent in uplifting specially-abled and under-privileged communities in India. Elaborating more on this, the airport has a café called Coffee Box at their domestic arrival that is managed by members
of the Speech and Hearing Impaired (SHI) community.

S. Sreekumar, airport director, Chennai International Airport says, “We are always striving towards helping all segments of society it comes to our business practices. Currently we are at the brink of a notable redevelopment programme of the airport that will change the landscape of important travel hubs.” Business Traveller India will report more on this when the plan is revealed.

Some of their other social welfare efforts include conducting free eye screening camp for cab drivers and conducting workshops to educate the young minds about the scope and opportunities in aviation sector. They have also organised city beautification programmes where Airports Authority of India and Chennai airport volunteers painted a record 400 city-side wall panels.


While an enhanced on-ground service and easy check-in are two key components, an airport experience is incomplete without some retail debauchery. Emphasising extensively on this factor is Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi which houses India’s largest duty free space with over 1,000 brands. The airport’s duty free section, which underwent a major refurbishment last year, has played a key role in changing the face of airport shopping by being a pioneer on several fronts. These include starting operations in 2010 with the largest collection of single malts in India; boasting the largest spread of white and dark spirits in the country in 2015 and being the first airport to migrate from US$ to INR (`) for pricing and billing, post the customs ruling in 2018. In order to drive in more customers, they host interesting events such as Malt Festival for liquor enthusiasts among other initiatives.

Nisha Shroff and Sanchita Nambiar