Asha Sridhar peeps into the new domestic terminal at Chennai airport

After a successful trial run on Monday, the commodious new domestic terminal-2, held together by a complex maze of mammoth steel grids at the Chennai International Airport, is being given finishing touches before the much-awaited opening. Once rendered functional, these vast swanky corridors can hold up to 10 million passengers per annum.

All work has been completed, and the airline office space too, is ready to be occupied. Once the new domestic terminal is functional — sometime in June — the existing terminal will be closed for a few months for renovation work, according to a source at the airport.

Once both terminals become operational, this will be a huge complex capable of handling the increasing number of passengers, the source added.

While the existing domestic terminal can handle around 2,200 passengers per hour and has three gates, the better-equipped and more spacious new terminal can handle approximately 3,300 passengers per hour and has seven gates. To segregate traffic, those arriving at the airport will exit through the gates on the arrival floor, which is on the ground floor, and those taking flights can directly reach the departure floor using the elevated 1.3 km road which stretches between the Central substation and the exit ramp of the domestic building.

Access to the connector tube, which will connect the new domestic terminal to the new metro rail station, will be through the mezzanine level of the new terminal.

A source said that further work on the connector tube will take place after the commencement of the metro work, so that technical problems do not arise. While the shell is complete, internal work has to be done.

Spread across 72,614 sq m, the five-level structure, will come with a host of amenities such as a VIP lounge, free telephone booths in the security hold area, special assistance for physically handicapped passengers, reserved parking, rest places, executive lounges, assistance counters, prepaid taxi services and car rental counters, an infant-care lobby, a free medical facility, passengers trolleys, vending machines for snacks, a snack bar, duty free shops, banks, ATM counters, foreign exchange counters, and concessionaries.

The car park, situated right outside the arrival gate of the new terminal, can hold up to 1,200 cars. There will also be a vertical garden which can be viewed from the two glass tubes within the terminal. The new terminal will have 52 check-in counters, which will be apart from the eight counters for e-ticketing.