As T2 shutdown looms, DIAL open to having dedicated terminals for airlines: CEO – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The operator of India’s busiest hub – Delhi’s IGIA – is back to the drawing board to figure out the “best possible option” for handling growing international traffic. While T2 will soon be shut after the expanded T1 opens later this month, Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar on Friday said all options are open that include having dedicated terminals for airlines (with IndiGo and Air India having massive fleet orders) or having dedicated terminals for international and domestic flights.
“Our current capacity (T1 + T2 + T3) is about 10.4-10.9 crore passengers annually (CPA) of which international is 2.2 crore (with only T3 handling overseas flights.) last year we handled just under 2 crore international passengers and are running out of capacity in this front. With international traffic growing at 8-10% annually & domestic-international transfers increasing, we need to have more capacity for foreign traffic,” Jaipuriar said at a CAPA event on Friday.
The two short term options that can be executed in 6-12 months are converting T2 to all-international or converting a domestic pier in T3 to international. No firm decision has been taken yet on which option will be exercised, he said.
“The shift from T2 to the expanded T1 (when it opens after getting security clearance later this month) will happen in phases. In about 15-day gaps we will do the shifting and complete the process within two months,” the CEO said.
India’s biggest airline — IndiGo — is learnt to have objected as it will have all its international flights from T3 and all domestic from T1 (once the shift from T2 is completed). AI Group, on the other hand, IndiGo has told DIAL will have all international and most domestic flights from the same terminal T3. “The entire trouble of transferring passenger between distant T1 and T3 will be borne by IndiGo when T2 closes. Either shift us 100% to T1 by having an international wing there, or let us also have some domestic flights from T3, IndiGo has told DIAL and is awaiting a response from them,” people in the know say. Jaipuriar did not comment on this issue.
DIAL, meanwhile, is preparing for transfer of passengers between T1 and T3 — something that happens on buses running city side in the absence of an air train or automated people mover (APM). “We are working on airside transfers of baggage for passengers taking connecting flights on the same airline group. For instance, passengers travelling Patna-Istanbul (on IndiGo both flights) via Delhi, will not be required to take their bags on arrival at T1 on the domestic to international part of the journey. For return (when customs needs to be cleared), we are working with Govt agencies to see how this can work,” said Jaipuriar.
To handle transfer traffic, DIAL is building a hotel outside T3. It is seeing if the same can happen at the car park outside T1.

Air train

: DIAL will soon go for an international bidding of the proposed air train at IGIA — the long term solution for seamless intra-terminal connectivity. “The APM will be free for transfer passengers. We are looking at having allowing paid travellers on it who wish to travel city-side within the airport ecosystem. There may still be some viability gap and to fill that we might approach the Govt for a one-time tarriff support in the form of an airport development fees (ADF). We have made that representation,” said the CEO.
The air train will take about 3-4 years from when the work starts — just in time when T2 makes way for a brand new and bigger T4.

Future growth:

With four runways, IGIA currently has 1,500 daily slots. “We are working with international consultants to optimise our runway usage. In the next 2-3 years, first with dependant parallel usage of runways and then independent usage, we can add daily 500-700 slots. From current peak of 84 aircraft movement hour per hour, this can go to 110 aircraft,” Jaipuriar said.
Delhi Airport is using technology in a big way. Along with immigration, it has set to biometric machines on arrival for international passengers. “People coming in e-visas give their biometrics (finger scan). Doing so at immigration meant longer queues. That’s why we just started this,” Jaipuriar said.
Trends: DIAL says it is working with Delhi Metro to ensure more people come to the airport on metro and also use baggage drop at stations where the facility is available. More stations will get baggage drop facility for passengers. “We see more people are using a Metro,” he said.
Jaipuriar said 25-30% passengers going abroad are OCI (overseas citizenship of India) card holders. “They are looking for souvenirs and sweets to take from India with the airport last place where they can do so before flying out of here. They are also looking for food & beverage brands that are familiar with and also want to try newly-grown Indian brands,” he said.
Aerocity: The Delhi Airport’s Aerocity – which is being massively expanded by Bharti Reality — is becoming a destination in itself. “We now see people flying into Delhi staying at Aerocity hotel and having meetings there during the day before flying back home afterwards. Sometimes return the same day after completing their work here itself. Hotels here are seeing 90% occupancy. From 18 lakh square feet of retail, we are going up to 3 crore square feet of commercial hub,” Jaipuriar said.

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