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Delhi airport expects 72 mn passenger traffic this fiscal; expanded T1 to be operational in May

New Delhi, Mar 10 (PTI) The Delhi airport is expected to handle more than 72 million passengers in the current fiscal ending March 31, the highest-ever annual traffic, and the expanded Terminal 1 is likely to be operational in May, its CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar said on Sunday.

New Delhi, Mar 10 (PTI) The Delhi airport is expected to handle more than 72 million passengers in the current fiscal ending March 31, the highest-ever annual traffic, and the expanded Terminal 1 is likely to be operational in May, its CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar said on Sunday.

The expanded T1 terminal, the capacity of which has increased to 40 million from 17 million, was inaugurated virtually by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. Now, its total area has tripled to 2,06,950 square metres.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in the national capital, operated by the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), now has an annual passenger handling capacity of 100 million spread across three terminals -- T1, T2 and T3.

Speaking to reporters after the inauguration at the Delhi airport, DIAL CEO Jaipuriar said the expanded T1 is expected to be operational in May before the peak summer season.

Currently, the process related to ORAT (Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer) is happening.

'When you are operating an airport, you have got different stakeholders. You have airlines, ground handling operators... all these people need to get familiar with all these operations... We are in that proper process of ORAT,' he said.

To a query from PTI on the traffic expected for the current financial year, Jaipuriar said, 'We will cross 72 million passengers. It will be the highest-ever. We have done the maximum of 69.3 million (passengers) before Covid'.

According to him, international traffic is doing well and is anticipated to be around 27-28 per cent of the 72 million passengers in the current financial year.

Compared to pre-Covid, he said, international traffic is 10 per cent more now.

With the expanded T1, the Delhi airport is now among the top five airports in the world in terms of annual passenger handling capacity. The airport handles around 1,500 flights daily.

'In terms of capacity, it (Delhi airport) will be one of the top five. In terms of traffic, we are not yet in the top five...,' Jaipuriar said.

T1's capacity is 40 million, T2 (15 million) and T3 (45 million).

Group Deputy Managing Director of GMR Group I Prabhakara Rao said that for the expanded T1, the amount of steel used in the expansion is more than 10 times that of the Eiffel Tower.

The expanded T1 will have eight entry gates, and all of them will have Facial Recognition System (Digi Yatra). There will also be 20 Automated Tray Retrieval System (ATRS), Individual Carrier System (ICS), 108 Common Usage Self Service (CUSS) and 100 check-in counters, including 36 Self Baggage Drop (SBD) kiosks.

'The terminal also has 10 baggage reclaim carousels, each 70 metres long, against eight of 52 metres each, with ample space between two baggage belts, reducing the waiting time of passengers.

'The capacity of the Baggage handling system at T1 has doubled from 3,240 baggage per hour to around 6,000 per hour. The number of check-in islands has also been increased to 5 against 4 earlier. These would help in the easy flow of passengers and enhance passenger experience,' DIAL said in a release.

In the long term, DIAL plans to convert T2 into Terminal 4 (T4), which will have a higher capacity.

T4 is likely to be operational in 2028-29 and then, the overall capacity of the Delhi airport will increase to 140 million, Rao said.

DIAL is led by a GMR consortium.

Ahead of the virtual inauguration of the expanded T1 by Modi, Minister of State for Civil Aviation VK Singh and Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena spoke at a function at the Delhi airport.

Singh said 15 projects are being inaugurated today, and together, these will take the total number of airports in the country to more than 160.

Ten years ago, the number of airports was at 74, he added.

The NDA government came to power in 2014.

On Sunday, Modi inaugurated 12 new terminal buildings at Delhi, Pune, Kolhapur, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Lucknow, Aligarh, Azamgarh, Chitrakoot, Moradabad, Shravasti and Adampur airports.

He also laid the foundation stone of three new terminal buildings of Kadapa, Hubballi and Belagavi airports. PTI RAM BAL BAL

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