Vadodara airport is an aesthetically designed structure from the outside, but from the inside it’s very poorly designed. The walls are yellow in color, reminiscent of good old socialist India, and the floor has the regular Kota stone tiles. It’s no different in appearance from any regular Govt. building.
On the departure side, there are no facilities worthy of mention. There’s just a snack shop where one can buy some food. To pass time, one can read newspapers and watch TV (doesn’t work all the time) and that’s pretty much it. Even the TV was added only recently. That’s very poor for a city that’s progressing and has a lot of NRIs coming down every year during the various famous festivals such as Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan (kite flying festival), Holi (festival of colors), Navratri (festival of Garbas) and of course Diwali (festival of lights and firecrackers).
There are also a lot of television stars coming there for shooting TV programmes. The last three times I flew there, I saw Balli Grover and Mac Mohan (of Sholay’s Sambha fame) on one occasion, a famous yesteryear Bollywood villain and a Hindi soap opera actress (both their names I don’t know) on another occasion, and an Indian Idol finalist on the third occasion.
On the arrival side, the terminal is equally dingy. The conveyor belt is in appalling shape and there are some makeshift structures belonging to the ITC Welcomgroup Hotel Vadodara and Hertz Rent-a-car. Once you exit the terminal, the landscape outside is just slightly better than the city railway station (minus all the crowd). Rickshaw drivers accost you asking you where you want to go.
However, recently, the foundation stone for a new modern international terminal was laid, which truly looks world-class on paper, but I doubt whether in reality it’ll look even half as good. Anyway, time will tell the facts. This new terminal is slated for completion by 2010, after which hopefully the airport will be made an international airport.
IMAGES: Pictures of the new terminal at the Vadodara Airport (courtesy DeshGujarat.com)
There are also reports that the airport will be renamed as Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad Airport, which would be a welcome move. Vadodara is my place of birth and I spent 23 years there, so I would love to see it get the kind of airport (and other facilities) it deserves.