The Union ministry of civil aviation, in the wake of rising passenger traffic, has decided to increase the capacity of Delhi airport by 50%.
Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha, while admitting that Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport’s Terminal 1 was handling passengers more than it could, said immediate and long term measure need to be undertaken to increase air side and terminal capacity.
Sinha also hinted at the construction of a second airport, possibly in Jewar, NCR, in the next 4-8 years, when Delhi airport will run out of capacity. NATS, UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services, has been appointed to study the traffic pattern at IGI and suggest ways to improve capacity.
“In the summer schedule, the Delhi airport will handle 67 flights in an hour, which we have planned to increase to 95 in the next 2-3 years. Similarly, Delhi airport has the capacity to handle 60 million passengers a year at present. We want to increase that to about 90 million a year in the next three years,” he said.
The ministry has also formed a flight operation committee, which will meet once a month.
Last year, IGI airport handled one crore extra passengers when compared to 2015. The infrastructure during the period remained the same and as a result passengers often complained of congestion in the terminal and extra waiting time at the security checks and immigration checks.
“The capacity of Terminal 1 is 20 million, while it handles 24 million passengers. There is a master plan in place and we will, in a month or two, decide whether to shift airlines to T2 or build a completely new terminal – T4. The capacity of Delhi airport will increase by 10% this year,” he added.
Sinha said that capacity of terminals will be increased when capacity of air side is improved as number of passengers depends on number of flight an airport can handle.
On a new airport, Sinha said that the BJP government has requested for technical evaluation of Jewar airport. “Delhi-NCR will need another airport when the passenger count reaches 110 million. Apart from terminal and air side capacity, airspace capacity will also need to be looked into,” Sinha said.