A new departure terminal at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, which will be able to handle all outbound domestic passengers, will be operational by March-end, officials said.
The new terminal, 1D, set up at an investment of Rs.5 billion (Rs.500 crore), will be inaugurated Thursday, but will be opened for passengers only by March-end, said an official of Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), which runs the IGI Airport.
As of now, passengers of Air India (domestic) and Kingfisher Airlines are boarding their flights from terminal 1A, while passengers of other airlines, including low-cost carriers, are boarding from terminal 1B.
Once the new terminal is functional, all airlines will have to operate from terminal 1D, at least for an year till the proposed integrated terminal (T3) comes up. The T3 terminal is scheduled to be operational some time next year.
However, scheduled airlines like Air India, Jet Airways and the Kingfisher Airlines are not very enthusiastic about moving to the new departure terminal as they will have to shift their operations once again to the T3 a year later.
"We will have to shift to T3 terminal a year later. This could affect our operations," an airline official told IANS.
This would leave the new departure terminal at domestic terminal solely for the budget carriers.
The T3 is coming up adjacent to the international terminal of the IGI Airport.
The Delhi airport, which handles over 70 domestic and international airlines every day, is the second busiest airport in the country after Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
The 1D terminal will be able to handle at least 10 million passengers a year and will have 72 check-in counters against 32 at present. It would also have in-line baggage screening system.
The two-level building at the new integrated terminal will have a separate ramp, which will take passengers to the second level. The passengers would have to go to the ground level to board their flight.
A flyover is also being constructed to ease traffic leading to the new terminal. Annual passenger traffic at the airport is expected to reach 34 million by next year.