Delhi airport Terminal 1 halts operation after roof collapse, one dead

Delhi airport terminal roof collapse

Accident also leaves six injured; canopy at Terminal 1’s forecourt had collapsed on cars; hundreds of flights cancelled; police register case for criminal negligence

Updated - June 28, 2024 11:25 pm IST

Published - June 28, 2024 07:52 am IST - New Delhi

One person died and six others were injured when the canopy over the forecourt at Terminal 1 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport collapsed over cars following heavy rain in New Delhi on June 28. At least four cars were damaged in the incident. Flights arriving and departing from the terminal were cancelled and the police registered a case of criminal negligence.

The deceased was a cab driver, the police said. The airport was privatised in 2006. 

Also Read: Delhi airport roof collapse LIVE updates

As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), parts of Delhi near the airport recorded a massive 228.1 mm of rainfall in past 24 hours, especially in the early morning hours of Friday. This was an all-time record for rainfall in a single day in June for Delhi.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has assigned a team from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi to examine the cause of the collapse, and has also asked all airports to conduct a thorough inspection of the structural strength of their buildings within two to five days.

“Since it was raining, it was difficult to understand what had happened, people - mostly cab drivers - started running around while the cabs were on the road. I too was running when a piece of the roof fell on my head. When I checked, I saw blood and panicked,” said Santosh Kumar Yadav, a private cab driver, who sustained head injuries in the incident.

The incident happened around 5 a.m. outside the departure section of T1, which is a two-storied building with arrivals on the ground floor and departures on the first floor. The departure section of T1 was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2024 after being closed for renovation and expansion work since 2019, which brought departures and arrivals under one roof. However, Minister of Civil Aviation Rammohan Naidu said that the forecourt area was not part of the renovated building, but was constructed in 2008-09.

As a result of the incident, IndiGo cancelled 115 flights and SpiceJet cancelled eight flights. The airlines announced free refunds for affected passengers. IndiGo will move its T1 flights to T2 and T3, while SpiceJet will move them to Terminal 2 until the team from IIT-Delhi examines the cause of the collapse and T1 is reopened.

The airport has extended an ex-gratia of ₹20 lakh for the family of the deceased and ₹3 lakh for those injured. The government has also asked airlines to ensure there is no abnormal surge in airfares for Delhi flights due to Friday’s cancellations. 

Vehicles crushed after a portion of the roof of the Delhi airport’s Terminal-1 collapsed amid heavy rain, early Friday, June 28, 2024.

Vehicles crushed after a portion of the roof of the Delhi airport’s Terminal-1 collapsed amid heavy rain, early Friday, June 28, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) is a joint venture led by GMR Airports Limited, which owns a 64% stake. The Airports Authority of India owns 26% and Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide owns the remaining 10%. The Operations, Management and Development Agreement (OMDA) was awarded to the GMR-led consortium in 2006, and allows for government oversight on private airports.

The Delhi Police registered a case under Sections 304A (causing death by negligence) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against unknown persons. 

An earlier version of the story said three people died, based on sources at the airport. The toll has been since revised after Delhi Police’s official announcement.
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