State-of-the-art airport roof gave in to rain | delhi | Hindustan Times
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State-of-the-art airport roof gave in to rain

When Delhi airport’s brand new Rs 500 crore terminal 1D opened three months ago, one of its much-hyped features was the abundant use of natural light in the building through skylights.

delhi Updated: Aug 22, 2009 00:41 IST
HT Correspondent

When Delhi airport’s brand new Rs 500 crore terminal 1D opened three months ago, one of its much-hyped features was the abundant use of natural light in the building through skylights.

On Friday afternoon, passengers flying out of Delhi got more nature than they ever wanted after parts of the ‘state-of-the-art’ terminal’s roof collapsed due to heavy rain and strong winds, washing away the claims of private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) of building a ‘world class airport’.

“Passengers were standing in knee deep water and gaping at the sky visible through the partially collapsed roof,” said an airline official, who didn’t wish to be named, as he isn’t authorised to talk to media.

Trouble started around 4.10 pm when heavy rains and a squall at 92 kmph lashed the Indira Gandhi International Airport. All flight operations came to a halt as rainwater flooded the tarmac, visibility came down to 100 metres and strong tailwinds hampered aircraft movement. All evening flights were delayed and 10 flights had to be diverted to airports in Jaipur and Lucknow.

While flight disruptions during adverse weather is common, this is the first time an airport terminal’s roof collapsed due to rains.

Departure terminal 1A, which houses Air India and some other airlines, was built in 1986 but continued operations during the rain and squall. The now closed terminal 1B, build during World War II, wasn’t damaged either.

DIAL’s excuse is even more bizarre than the incident itself.

“Terminal 1D is much higher than other terminals and therefore more exposed to the elements,” said Andrew Harrison, DIAL’s Chief Operating Officer. With the upcoming integrated Terminal 3 planned on an even bigger scale, perhaps we should expect more trouble.

DIAL claims it had taken into account extreme weather conditions while constructing the building. “The airport witnessed unprecedented rains and strong winds and such conditions are difficult to account for but we are responding to it,” he said.

DIAL has summoned the terminal’s architect Hafeez Contractor to assess the problem.