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Delhi's new airport to be operational tomorrow

July 27, 2010 17:19 IST

Delhi AirportThe full-scale commerical operations at the swanky new integrated terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport will begin from Wednesday with all airlines shifting their operations and the Air India flight from New York will be the first to arrive.

"The airlines would shift their operations to T3 from 1400 hours tomorrow. We have chosen Wednesday to shift from T2 to T3, because on this day there are least number of flights between 1400 hours and 1930 hours," Andrew Harrison, chief operating officer, DIAL, said.

Passengers of Air India's flight (AI-102) from JFK New York would be the first to arrive at the world's sixth largest airport, when its commercial operations begin, he said, adding Air India's Jaipur-Delhi-Dubai flight (IC-895) would be the first flight to take-off from New Delhi.

AI-102 will arrive at T3 at 1645 hours while IC-895 would depart for Dubai at 1850 hours.

On Wednesday, all the international flights would arrive at T2 till 1645 hours, but after the departure of Gulf Air flight (GF-135) to Bahrain at 1805 hours, all the operations at T2 will be shifted to the new terminal.

"Check-in for the first departing flight (IC-895) from T3 would begin from 1450 hours and, all the facilities like food and beverage counters, shops and other facilties would also start functioning from tomorrow itself," Harrison said.

He said DIAL has put up signages and deployed a battery of volunteers to help and guide the passengers to T3.

Apart from it, DIAL would be running the shuttle services for the passengers between T2 and T3.

He also assured that T3 would provide seamless connectivity to the international and domestic passengers with world class experience, after three full service carriers -- Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher -- also shift their domestic operations from August 27.

"It will be a hub like the airports in Dubai, Changi in Singapore, from where passengers like to fly to other destinations, as T3 would truely transform the experince of those travelling to and from India," he added.

On the first day of the operations, about 90 flights would operate from T3, of which around 50 would be foreign airlines.

DIAL had pushed back the operation date of T3, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 3, by a fortnight to provide more time to all stakeholders to deal with any glitches, including setting up of airline offices, synchronising security procedures, baggage handling and the whole range of airport operations.

On July 14, the first commercial flight of Air-India from New York arrived at T3 with around 200 passenger.

This was part of nine proving flights to and from the terminal on July 14 and 15 which also included the world's largest passenger aircraft Airbus A380.

"We have learnt many lessons during the proving flights that helped us to sort out the glitches," Harrison said.

The world's sixth largest passenger terminal was built in a record 37 months and has some of the most modern amenities in the world, including travellators and inline baggage handling system which can handle 12,800 pieces of baggage per hour.

Harrison said that with the opening of Delhi Metro's Airport Line Express, the travel to the airport would become truely world class as the passengers would have the option to check-in their baggage at New Delhi and Shivaji Stadium stations.

Passengers, along with their hand baggage, could also check-in from Dhaula Kuan metro station.

"Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and other agencies have given their go-ahead to this and we expect that once the metro service is available less number of people would be travelling through road to the airport," he added.

"Indian carriers have shown their keen interest in the providing the check-in facilty at Metro stations," Harrison said.

On the fate of terminal 1, which is presently used by Air India for its domestic operations, Harrison said DIAL is mulling on a host of options which include using it as Haj terminal or a General Aviation terminal or for chartered flights.

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