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Better days ahead for Delhi airport

THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME: The proposed new-look Terminal 3 for Delhi airport.  

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: With just over three years to go for the 2010 Commonwealth Games here, Delhi International Airport Limited on Wednesday unveiled its 1.5 billion dollar (about Rs.6,750 crores) grand plan to upgrade Indira Gandhi International Airport to a world-class facility. The modernisation programme would include creation of a state-of-the-art integrated terminal and one of the longest runways in Asia.

Releasing the Master Plan for airport expansion and modernisation, DIAL Managing Director Srinivas Bommidala said: "The Commonwealth Games will be a platform to showcase the modern face of India, particularly Delhi. By 2010 we aim to upgrade the Delhi airport to the level of the best airports in the world like Frankfurt, Dubai and Singapore."

The Master Plan, which has been submitted to the Government for clearance, envisages construction of an integrated passenger terminal that would cater to both domestic and international traffic, accommodating as many as 3.7-crore passengers per year. The new "Terminal 3" would have 55 aerobridges and 30 remote parking bays for passenger embarkation and disembarkation. Six of these aerobridges would be compatible with Airbus A380s.

The roof of the new building will have stylised incisions that will not only protect the interior from direct sunlight but also use natural light to create a calming ambiance offering a maximised sense of volume and space. It will, on the other hand, reduce dependency on artificial light during daytime.

Mr. Bommidala said there are plans for a wide variety of restaurants, bars, shopping and duty-free purchasing complexes for the convenience of passengers, and to make available modern communication equipment for business travellers. The airport will also have a hotel for passengers.

The two-tier terminal building will have the departure complex at the upper level and the arrivals at the lower. The state-of-the-art security system will have Common Use Terminal Equipment and an advanced in-line baggage handling system with X-ray machines for smooth functioning. The check-in zone will have over 130 counters to facilitate quick clearance of passengers, whereas 70 desks will be set up for international passengers for an efficient emigration procedure.

Terminal 3, which will form the first phase of the airport expansion plan to come up with a U-shaped building in a modular manner, will by 2010 be fully functional for international and domestic carriers.

"By 2008 the Delhi airport will have one of the longest runways in Asia measuring 4.43 km. The runway will be capable of handling next-generation aircraft. The new domestic terminal will be operational with a capacity of one-crore passengers per year, and the international terminal will also be modernised and upgraded," said Mr. Bommidala. With an upcoming high-speed Metro Rail connectivity and a six-lane connecting road to the airport complex, passengers are expected to have a through-and-through joyride.