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T3 domestic flights delayed till Games

If you wish to take a domestic flight out of the swanky new Terminal 3 of Delhi airport, wait for the Commonwealth Games to get over.

delhi Updated: Aug 16, 2010 00:37 IST
Siddhartha Roy

If you wish to take a domestic flight out of the swanky new Terminal 3 of Delhi airport, wait for the Commonwealth Games to get over.

Domestic flight operations were scheduled to begin from the brand new terminal from August 27. The opening, however, was deferred indefinitely after a preparedness review by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel last week. The new date, which will be announced in mid-September after another review, is expected to be sometime after the sporting event is over.

"The shifting of domestic airlines to the new terminal is expected to be chaotic and we don't want any embarrassment at a time when athletes, delegates and tourists will be arriving for the Games," said a senior ministry official, requesting anonymity.

“T3 is facing teething troubles ever since international flight operations started in the last week of July,” he said.

At present, nearly 70,000 passengers visit the Indira Gandhi International Airport daily. Of them, 20,000-25,000 are international passengers who use T3. With domestic flight operations shifting from Terminal 1A and 1D to T3, this number will go up to about 55,000 passengers daily. Three budget carriers will keep operating from the domestic terminal 1D.

"This new load of passengers on T3 will lead to more problems as even now there is power shortage and other glitches at the terminal," said an airport, requesting anonymity.

The major problems that cropped up during the ministry's review were the lack of smooth connectivity to T3 and shortage of dedicated power supply and water.

A new, 220 KVA sub-station of Delhi Transco Ltd. (DTL), which is expected to be commissioned soon, will be needed for an uninterrupted power supply.

Though the sub-station was to be commissioned by July 31, the DTL representative told the ministry that it would be ready only by September 15. Also, the Delhi Jal Board has also not been able to provide the required supply of 3 MLD water to the airport.

With only one approach road to T3 available from the NH-8, shifting of domestic flights will also result in congestion. A proposed new underpass connecting Dwarka roundabout to T3 also needs to be completed.

The Airport Metro Link, which will connect central Delhi to T3, will become operational by mid-September only.