At the inauguration of the new terminal at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Thursday,Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was all praise for Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel. Praful bhai,please make IGI the best airport in the country, she said,recalling her despondence on visiting the airport a few months ago.
In turn,Patel credited the Delhi government for the extraordinary support in making the inauguration of terminal 1D possible.
Developed by the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL),the GMR-led joint venture consortium,terminal 1D is expected to enhance travel experience of domestic passengers leaving the city. But the terminal will become operational only by the first week of April,said GMR group chairman G M Rao at the inauguration ceremony today.
The terminal was made over and above the civil aviation ministrys contractual obligations because the passengers were going through a lot of trouble at the present terminal, Patel said.
Dikshit,however,raised concerns over the surroundings of the world class airport,which needed to be developed more aesthetically.
We have provided a lot of support to GMR and they are still asking for more. Even though we ourselves are struggling for funds,we would like to help them as and when they let us know, Dikshit said.
Once terminal 1D becomes operational,the existing domestic departure terminal 1B will be demolished. DIAL officials say it might be turned into a general civil aviation facility.
Given the enormous difference between traffic and domestic terminal capacity at the IGI Airport,we felt it was extremely important to have new facilities for domestic passengers. Hence,we mobilised additional capital for this terminal in addition to the Master Plan already under development, Rao said. Today the gleaming glass and steel structure stands as a testimony to the effort put in by DIALs engineers and contractors.
DIAL is also conducting extensive Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (ORAT) trials to ensure that the terminal commences commercial operations smoothly. The key aspect of these trials,to continue over the next few weeks,is to familiarise the airline,baggage and security staff with the new four-level in-line baggage handling system.