Revamped Kolkata airport to be comparable to Delhi’s T3
The small, clumsy and mismanaged Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport here is set for a first big leap. Putting aside the flaws of the past, the rechristened, state-of-the-art integrated passenger terminal is due for inauguration on January 20.
The new terminal will be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee. Interestingly, though, a Kolkata-Delhi-New York flight will be the first service to take off from the modernised facility on January 23.
Airport officials have claimed that once through, the new passenger terminal will be on a par with Delhi’s T3, if not better.
“Although the airport will be operational from tomorrow [Sunday] onwards, it will take nearly two-three months for flights to shift their counters and begin full-fledged operations,” said Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman V.P. Agrawal.
According to him, putting the in-line baggage system will take another five to six months.
A major milestone for the airport, the Rs. 2,300-crore modernisation programme, carried out by the Thailand-based ITD Cementation India Ltd (ITD Cem), has been troubled by delays and missed deadlines. As many as five deadlines — beginning August 2011, followed by end 2011, May 2012 and then October 2012 — were missed.
So what exactly is special that makes the modernisation work stand out?
According to ITD Cem, the new terminal will have a covered area of 2.33 lakh square metres. It will have capacities to handle larger aircraft — say an Airbus 380 with a seating capacity of 555 people, compared to the earlier one where handling was restricted to a Boeing 747 (seating capacity between 210-250 passengers).
An additional 11 parking bays have been added to the existing 12, taking the total number of parking bays to 23.
Passenger facilities too have been given a leg-up.
Departure facilities include 48 international and 80 domestic check-in counters, 38 immigration counters, 23 international and 33 domestic security gates with frisking booths. The arrival area will have 40 immigration counters, 26 conveyor belts and six custom counters and 18 air bridges.
The integrated passenger terminal will have double the passenger handling capacity. The new terminal can handle 7,452 passengers per hour compared to 2,850 passengers earlier.
At the moment, the annual footfalls at the airport are nearly 9 million — almost double the existing capacity of the airport (the airport has a passenger handling capacity of 5 million). The new terminal will also have an increased annual passenger handling capacity of nearly 20 million passengers.
For the comfort of travellers, the area per peak hour passenger is now 29 sq. metres compared to the earlier 15.34 sq. metres in the international terminal. For the domestic terminal, the area per peak hour passenger stands at 22 sq. metres compared to the earlier 14.38. sq. metres.
According to officials, the arrival corridor and hall of the airport terminal have been built in such a way that they allow the smooth switching of operations between the domestic and international terminals.
The central roof canopy, with an estimated area of nearly 24,000 sq. metres is designed to facilitate rainwater harvesting. The design ensures a flow of natural light into the terminal building’s interiors.
But Bengal without Rabindranath Tagore is somewhat incomplete. And accordingly, landscaping of the integrated terminal will have references of Tagore’s writings.
New terminal will have a covered area of 2.33 lakh square metres It can handle 7,452 passengers per hour compared to 2,850 earlier
New terminal will have a covered area of 2.33 lakh square metres
It can handle 7,452 passengers per hour compared to 2,850 earlier