Gleaming new departure terminal at Delhi airport (Lead)

February 26th, 2009 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) A gleaming new domestic terminal awaits air passengers in India’s capital when they fly out early April, with its developers giving a sneak preview of the upgraded infrastructure Thursday.
Exclusive driveway for entry, inline baggage screening system, 72-counter check-in facility, spacious area for food and beverage outlets and attractive retail space are some of the features of the new terminal.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel were among those who were given a sneak preview of Terminal 1D.

Patel said the IGI Airport would match the best airports in the world in terms of infrastructure and other facilities.

“Delhi has become a global city. I can assure you that the airport and its surroundings would be green, environment-friendly and will have good access to the city,” the minister said after inaugurating the terminal, which would come into operation in the first week of April.

The Delhi chief minister urged Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), a GMR Group consortium, to lift the IGI Airport to international levels.

“There are multi-authorities in Delhi, which could make your work difficult. We are always there to help you. Please tell me what help you need from us,” Dikshit told the airport developer.

GMR group chairman G.M. Rao said the new departure terminal was not part of the contractual agreement GMR had signed with the government. But the company developed 1D considering the problems faced by the passengers, he said.

The new terminal, set up at an investment of Rs.5 billion (Rs.500 crore), will be capable of handling all outbound domestic passengers.

Terming aviation as India’s “sunrise sector”, Patel said several new airports are coming up and “we will see a drastic change in aviation’s infrastructure in the next few years”.

Defending the government’s decision to levy surcharge on passengers at the Delhi airport, Patel said “airports of certain scale” being developed by the Airports Authority of India could also do the same.

“This should be taken in the right spirit. What’s wrong if the government has taken this step?” he asked.

The government announced Monday that DIAL would charge Rs.200 on domestic passengers and Rs.1,300 on international passengers from March 1 due to the company’s inability to raise money from lenders and the market.

“The Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) - the new regulator for airlines - will look into the matter,” said the minister.

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