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Airlines reluctant to shift to new terminal at Delhi

April 21, 2009 11:16 IST

Even as the Delhi airport's sparkling new domestic departure terminal opened on Sunday, full-service carriers including Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines are already complaining about the extra costs they will have to incur in shifting to the new terminal.

Executives of Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines told Business Standard that they found it unnecessary to shell out an extra Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) for this new terminal, especially since they would have to shift to the new integrated terminal -- T3 -- in less than a year. T3, when it begins functioning in March 2010, will be an integrated terminal for all operators.

Kingfisher, Kingfisher Red and IndiGo have already started operations from the new T1D terminal, while Jet Airways, JetLite and SpiceJet are yet to shift.

"Setting up back-offices would cost us Rs 2-3 crore (Rs 20-30 million). Also, for contracts for the common user terminal equipment, we would have to shell out Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) more," said an executive from one of the carriers.

"We are being shifted to T3, which DIAL says will come up in March 2010," he added. Executives also said there were problems due to faulty baggage belts and air conditioning system at the new departure terminal.

When contacted, a DIAL spokesperson said, "We can say that the executives of the highest levels in all these airlines are very keen to shift to the new terminal because of the new experience it offers the passengers. Unlike what has been spread, the CUTE charges only come to Rs 35 per passenger, which will not be high as Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million)."

"We had to shift to the new terminal because the older one had become too congested. There have been some teething problems but they are much less compared to other airports. We had only three flights delayed yesterday and those delays were only for 5-10 minutes," he added.

According to sources at the airport, the T1D terminal handled the largest chunk of domestic passengers (more than 8,000) on the very day of opening. Currently, terminals 1A, 1B and 1D handle 24,000 departing passengers daily.

After Jet, JetLite and SpiceJet shift to T1D from T1B, the older terminal will be eventually demolished and T1A and T1D will be the only operational departure terminals.

With an area of 35,000 square metres, the new terminal has more than double the space when compared with 1B, which it will be replacing.

In addition to that, the check-in counters have been doubled from 32 to 72, which would halve the waiting time at the queues before passengers check in. There is also no waiting to be done before a passenger actually boards the flights since the number of boarding gates are 16, four times the existing departure terminal.

The new terminal has two levels. The entire baggage screening and scanning area has been shifted to the lower level, as a result of which the passenger gets twice the space he got in the earlier terminal.

The terminal also has new FnB outlets of KFC, Costa Coffee and Haldirams among others, apart from retail outlets of FabIndia and Odyssey.

Anirban Chowdhury in New Delhi