Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) broke its own record of highest flight movements in one hour when it handled 82 flights in 60 minutes on November 16.
The Air Traffic Controller (ATC) handled 40 landings and 42 take-offs between 11 am and noon on that day, and broke its previous record of 77 flight movements in an hour, officials said.
Also, for the first time, the airport crossed the 50-million passenger mark in a year, with 55.65 million passengers, almost 10 million more than the previous year.
With traffic growth at almost 20%, airport operator Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) is changing the master plan to increase the capacity of the terminal and the airside. The new ATC tower and fourth runway will help reduce congestion in the air and handle more flights.
According to airport officials, air traffic continues to grow but in 2012-13, due to a dip in domestic traffic, the overall passenger traffic fell to 34.37 million from 35.88 million in the previous year.
“As the busiest airport in the fastest growing aviation market, Delhi airport achieved another milestone by crossing a record 50 million passengers in 2016. With this, the Delhi airport has entered the league of 25 busiest airports worldwide. This year, Delhi Airport made yet another record by handling a whopping 82 flight movements in an hour. We look forward to attaining many more milestones in 2017,” said I Prabhakara Rao, CEO-DIAL.
The Delhi airport has a major market share of air traffic volume to the Middle East, European, Asian and American regions. It has an annual passenger capacity of over 62 million, including Terminal-3 that can handle 34 million passengers. The airport handles over one lakh passengers every day and aircraft movements have also increased. Almost 1,185 arrivals/departures took place from here everyday.
In order to expand the infrastructure and expand Terminal 1, DIAL will shift two domestic low-cost carriers to Terminal 2 by mid-January.
As domestic airlines, especially budget carriers, are growing at a faster rate, DIAL has decided to double the capacity of Terminal 1, which now caters to only low-cost carriers. “We will expand it and in the next three years, the capacity of T-1 will increase from 15 million per annum to 30 million per annum,” Rao added.
The new Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower of the Delhi airport, which is the country’s tallest ATC tower, is ready and will be operational soon. The tower, which is among the tallest structure in Delhi, will give a 360-degree view of the airport to the controller and will eventually help in on time performance of the flight.
The ATC complex and the 60-metre-high tower was built in 1999 and are at a considerable distance from the third runway, constructed in 2008.
The tower will give controllers a commanding view of the airport, as well as a much larger working space, so that a larger number of controllers can operate and reduce the pressure on the controllers. The 101.9-metre tower is adjacent to the present ATC tower and once ready, it will be the tallest in the country and the 7th tallest in the world.
The Delhi airport, which already has three runways, will become the first airport in the country to have a fourth runway, with construction likely to start this year. Airport officials are expecting to commission the fourth runway by 2018, which will take the per hour capacity of Delhi airport from 75 flights to 105.