Delhi’s new airport terminal inaugurated by PM (Second Lead)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday inaugurated a glitzy new terminal at the Indira Gandhi International Arport here, stated to be the sixth largest and among the most modern in the world, built in record 37 months at a cost of nearly $3 billion.

The actual operations though will start July 16 for international services while that for the domestic sector, for non-budget carriers, starts 16 days later, the developers of what is called Terminal 3 said at the grand opening.

Among those at the inaugural event were National Advisory Council chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and chairman of GMR Group, G.M. Rao, which led the consortium that built the terminal.

“Today is a special occasion for our country. We are all very happy and proud of the completion of one of the world’s largest airport terminals in a record 37 months,” the prime minister told the well-attended opening ceremony.

“This airport terminal establishes new global benchmarks. It exemplifies out country’s resolve to bridge the infrastructure deficit in our country. It also proves the success of public-private partnership,” he said. “We have proved the sceptics wrong.”

According to the prime minster, as many as 58 government agencies were involved in coordinating the efforts to build the airport, and accordingly congratulated every artisan, technician and worker involved in the project.

The prime minister said it was noteworthy that India was today the ninth largest aviation market, with 10 scheduled airlines, as opposed to just two in 1990. He said the total fleet size of scheduled carriers had also grown four-fold to 400 aircraft.

Going forward, he said the country’s commercial aviation industry had the potential to absorb up to $120 billion in investment by 2020 and the capacity to handle some 160-180 million domestic passengers and 50 million from overseas.

The developers of the new terminal - the Delhi International Airport Ltd - said the new facility can handle 34 million passengers per annum in the first phase of development, against less than 10 million passengers at present at the international terminal.

They said the new terminal will be the sixth largest in the world — after those at Dubai, Beijing, Singapore, Bangkok and Mexico City. It is a super-structure spread over 5.4 million sq ft, to give an experience of a city within, they added.

The airport’s developers are led by the Bangalore-based infrastructure major GMR Group, with the state-run Airports Authority of India, Fraport of Germany and Malaysian Airport Holding as members of the consortium.

Some of the key features of the new terminal are:

-Sixth largest in the world after those at Dubai, Beijing, Singapore, Bangkok and Mexico City

-One pier each for international and domestic operations spanning 1.2 km from one end to other

-A city within, with a super-structure spread over 5.4 million sq ft

-78 aero-bridges, against less than 10 at the current international terminal

-63 elevators, 35 escalators and 92 automatic walkways

-168 check-in counters and 95 immigration desks

-One pier each for international and domestic operations spanning 1.2 km from one end to other

-Over 20,000 sq meters of retail area, including a large food court

-Capacity to handle 12,800 bags per hour, with 6.4 km of conveyor belts

-Multi-layer parking facility that can accommodate 4,300 cars

-Exotic plants, material imported from Thailand, Mexico, Bahrain.

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