Delhi’s Terminal 3 set for commercial operations from Wednesday

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NEW DELHI - The stage is set for commercial fight operations at India’s Swankiest and largest terminal at the Indira Gandhi International airport here, with state-run Air India’s AI-102 from New York scheduled to land at 4.45 p.m. Wednesday.

Jet Airways will have the distinction of being the first private carrier to bring its passengers through what is officially called Terminal 3 (T3) of the airport, when its flight from Kathmandu lands at 5.15 p.m., the airport authorities said Tuesday.

“We reaffirm the readiness of all stakeholders who will be associated with T3,” Andrew Harrison, chief operating officer of Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), said at a press conference here.

“The proving flight operations on July 14-15 were very beneficial for us. We were able to demonstrate the readiness of all stakeholders — airlines, ground handlers, flight caterers, oil firms, air traffic controllers, duty free shops and other agencies.”

Harrison admitted there were a few glitches like security officials stamping on the bar codes of boarding passes. “All these have now been fixed. The remaining work at the skywalk that connects the parking bay with the terminal building has also concluded.”

The terminal is now open for all international operations. The airport oficial said by end-August, the domestic operations of Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher airlines will also shift to T3. Budget carriers will continue to operate from T2.

The authorities had pushed back the commercial operations at T3 by 14 days to provide time to all stakeholders to deal with hiccups, including setting up of airline offices, synchronising security procedures, baggage handling and a range of airport operations.

On July 14, the first commercial flight of Air India from New York arrived at T3 with 200 passengers. This was part of nine test flights to and from the terminal July 14-15 which also included the largest passenger aircraft Airbus A-380 arriving at T3.

The sixth largest passenger terminal in the world — inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 3 — was built in a record 37 months at the cost of nearly $3 billion and has some of the most modern amenities in the world.

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.

An Air India flight from New York, though commercial in nature, was a part of an operational drill called “terminal proving flights” July 14, meant to sort out any operational or technical problem in the terminal.

A day after, the terminal also handled the world’s largest commercial aircraft the Airbus A-380, that was flown in by the UAE-based Emirates Airline from Dubai.

The unique new terminal spread over 5.4 million square feet can cater to 34 million passengers. It has 78 aero-bridges, 168 check-in counters, 92 automatic walkways and five-level baggage screening system with a capacity to handle 12,800 bags per hour.

It will also have an eight-lane approach road from the city, a high speed Metro rail link to mid-town Connaught Place commercial centre and a multi-level car park with capacity of 4,300 cars.

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.

Filed under: Economy

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