DELHI: The explosive growth of air traffic in Delhi could prepone construction of Delhi Airport’s Terminal 4.
Aviation minister Jayant Sinha said on Thursday that the government, in consultation with stakeholders, would decide in the next two months whether T2 should immediately go to make way for T4, reports The Times of India.
The other solution is to shift some budget airline flights from T1 to T2 to allow expansion of T1 and then demolish T2 to make way for T4.
Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd’s (DIAL) master plan proposes the second option that says T2 should remain in use till 2020 — by when T1 expansion would be completed, including addition of the fourth runway — and T4 construction should start after that.
But none of the three low-cost carriers (LCCs) — IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir — operating all their domestic flights from T1 are keen to shift to T2 for just three years and then return to T1, forcing the government to step in.
“UK-based NATS (ATC specialist) has said IGI’s three runways can handle up to 95 flights an hour in three years, up from current 67 (62 schedule and five charters, VVIP or defence flights). By this winter, the hourly flight handling capacity can rise to 73.
We will have to synchronise the increase in the runways’ flight-handling with the terminals’ passenger-handling capacities. A decision on T1/T2/T4 will be taken in a month or two so that we are able to accordingly finalise the flight schedule for the coming winter in Delhi,” Sinha said.
Admitting the congestion in T1 — which has an annual passenger handling capacity of 2 crore but handled 2.4 crore last year, Sinha said, “In peak hours, there is overcrowding here. The terminal has 15 departure gates and can, therefore, handle a maximum of 30 departures an hour as one flight boarding from terminal gate to buses (that ferry flyers to aircraft) takes about half an hour. If some airlines are shifted to T2, space can be created here to start expansion work and take T1 capacity to 3 crore annually by adding infrastructure like more departure gates.”