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Terminals of chaos

From March-end, air travellers would be flying out of the brand new domestic departure terminal at Delhi airport. But expect confusion at the domestic airport for a month after it opens, reports Sidhartha Roy.

delhi Updated: Feb 24, 2009 23:54 IST
Sidhartha Roy

From March-end, air travellers would be flying out of the brand new domestic departure terminal at Delhi airport. But expect confusion at the domestic airport for a month after it opens.

The new terminal 1D would replace the existing departure terminal 1B, which is of World War II vintage and unable to meet the growing passenger traffic. The new terminal has almost double the space compared to the old one and would also provide more than double the number of security channels and check-in counters.

Terminal 1D, which would be inaugurated on February 26, is expected to open from March 25. The first airlines to shift from 1B to the new terminal would be Jet Airways and JetLite. Other airlines would shift to the new terminal in phases, which would take up to a month and that would be the problem period.

Air India (Domestic), Kingfisher and MDLR Airlines operate from terminal 1A at present and other airlines from 1B. However, there would be three different operational departure terminals after March-end — 1A, 1B and 1D.

Passengers who don’t know the terminal from where their airline operates, would have a tough time travelling between the terminals, as they are not located next to each other.

Airport developer Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) said it is taking steps so the three different terminals do not confound passengers. “We are coming up with a comprehensive communication plan to inform passengers on the new arrangements,” said a DIAL spokesman. DIAL said it would use signages, hoardings and banners, distribute leaflets and deploy marshals to inform passengers.

The confusion might not end with just the shifting. All airlines would not finally shift to terminal 1D either. Air India (Domestic) would keep operating from 1A and so would MDLR Airlines. “We would only shift from 1A in 2010 when the new integrated terminal 3 comes up at the airport,” an Air India spokesman said.

Sources at the airport said that apart from these two airlines, another budget carrier might shift to 1A.

“The shifting would take time as computers and systems would have to be moved. The shifting of back-end offices would take time and money,” said an official of a full cost carrier who didn’t wish to be identified.