Indira Gandhi International Airport's much talked-about Terminal-3, which is readying for operations from July 14 onwards, hopes to give air travellers a memorable experience by attempting to transform the airport into a truly international hub.

Slated for a July 3 inauguration, T3 is undergoing advanced stages of trial runs and is in its final stages of completion with workers putting finishing touches and fine tuning operations. International airlines will actually shift operations to T3 from Terminal-2 on July 14. Full-service domestic carriers and their low-cost versions such as Jet Airways, JetLite, Jet Konnect, Kingfisher Airlines, Kingfisher Red and Indian Airlines will shift to T3 on July 30-31. GoAir will shift from Terminal-1A to 1D, while IndiGo and SpiceJet will remain in Terminal-1D.

Delhi International Airport Limited has engaged Munich Airport International, a specialist in Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer programme, for trials and transfer of airport operations to T3. The ORAT trials and familiarisation programme involves DIAL members, airlines, ground handlers and other agencies including the Central Industrial Security Force, Immigration and Customs. Over 10,000 staff members will be trained and familiarised with the new facilities and systems through the ORAT programme.

The terminal, which will be equipped to handle 34 million passengers per annum, is spread over 5.4 million square feet and will handle both domestic and international operations. Built within a period of just 37 months, T3 is set to be the eighth largest terminal in the world. Its architects have incorporated Indian influences in the design which are reflected by gigantic silver mudras on the walls and etchings on the glass.

A unique feature of the terminal is its in-line baggage handling system. Each piece of baggage will pass through five levels of screenings. The system is equipped to handle12,800 pieces of baggage per hour, while there will be 14 reclaim baggage belts.

International passengers can also hope for a better experience with 95 immigration counters, of which 49 are for departure and 46 for arrival.

There are 78 passenger boarding bridges, three of which have been designated for the A380 aircraft and other aircrafts of similar dimensions. Lounges, airline offices, 68 transit hotel rooms for domestic passengers and 32 for international passengers are located at different levels of the terminal.

To expedite passenger movement, there are 97 automatic travelators, the longest of which measures 118 metre. Retail space of 215,000 square feet and a multi-level car park which can accommodate 4,300 vehicles are additional features.

To ease the travel to the terminal and through the city, an eight-lane approach road to the terminal and a dedicated high-speed Metro line from the city centre is being completed on a fast track mode.

The entire project of modernisation including the cost of runway building and T3 construction has been estimated at 12,700 crore.

The development of T3 is part of the first phase of the master plan for IGI Airport. It will enable the airport to handle 60 million passengers annually by 2010. The master plan for expansion includes developing Terminal 4, 5 and 6, which will enable IGI Airport to handle 100 million passengers by 2026.

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