After the biggest terminal and the longest runway, Delhi airport is all set to have the tallest Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower in the country.
At 100 metres, the new ATC tower will be much taller than the Qutab Minar (72.5 m) and almost double the airport's existing ATC tower.
The new ATC tower, initially planned to open by mid-2012, will now be commissioned only by November 2013, private airport developer Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) said. DIAL has invited bids for the construction of the new ATC complex and tower.
Expected to cost R350 crore, the new ATC tower will be built at a more centralised location at the airport, so that air traffic controllers can have a clear view of all the three runways, aprons and taxiways.
The present ATC complex and 60 metre high tower was built in 1999 and is at a considerable distance from the third runway built in 2008.
"Even on a clear day, the new runway is not properly visible from the ATC tower," said a senior ATC official who didn't wish to be named.
"Though all movements are monitored through radar, a clear view by the naked eye can sometimes help avert mishaps if an animal strays on the runway."
There are three operational runways at the airport and a fourth is planned when air traffic increases. The new ATC tower will be situated in the middle of the four runways and, with its commanding height, will not miss an inch of the area of the sprawling 5,000 acre airport. "Construction of a new ATC tower was not in the original master plan of Delhi Airport in the current phase. However, at the insistence of the Airports Authority of India and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, we have agreed to undertake the project in the current phase," said a DIAL spokesman.
"The schedule agreed envisages completion of the civil work by November 2012. This will be followed by installation of the ATC equipment and testing, leading to the commencement of operations from Nov 2013," he said. DIAL claimed the project is on schedule and that the designs have been finalised.