The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is not interested in constructing a tunnel to link Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport’s Terminal 3 Metro station with Terminal 2, which is set to host two domestic airlines by the end of January.
At present, three airliners — Indigo, Spicejet and Go Air — operate their domestic flights from T1. While Indigo will continue to operate from T1, Spicejet and Go Air will be shifted to T2 for two years, till the expansion of T1 is completed.
Since T2 is not connected to the Metro, the airport operator, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), had asked Delhi Metro to construct a tunnel linking T2 with the airport line in Terminal 3.
But sources said DMRC was not interested in building an access to T2 as it was to serve just as a temporary terminal.
“When the airport line was built, DIAL had paid money to connect the airport with the metro line. It had then also requested us to leave space for connectivity with Terminal 4, which was to come up in the future. Now, they have reopened Terminal 2 and want connectivity to it also. We have reservations in building the tunnel and have referred the matter back to DIAL,” said a DMRC official.
On an average more than one lakh passengers use terminals 1 and 3 of Delhi airport every day. Since, T1 has started getting congested, DIAL wants to temporarily use T2, which has been lying defunct, and expand T1 to increase its capacity.
“DIAL has requested DMRC to develop the underground pedestrian link to connect Terminal 2 with Terminal 3 metro station. This proposed link will be the most efficient way to link T2 with the metro and offer a convenient mode of transportation for passengers transiting via T2. It will be able to serve both current and future requirements,” said a spokesperson for DIAL.
Sources said that in August, DIAL had written a letter to DMRC requesting a tunnel link. The renovation of T2 has already been completed and Spicejet and Go Air may shift to the terminal any day. The construction of a tunnel access, however, will take at least 3-4 months. DMRC had suggested to the DIAL to construct an elevated link but sources said that the distance between T3 metro and terminal 2 will increase if that is done.
“The T3 metro station is underground and a tunnel would provide seamless connectivity. Passengers would not like to come upstairs and take a foot overbridge to go the terminal,” said an airport official.
At present, all international flight operations besides some domestic ones operate out of T3 of IGI. Terminal 2 was lying abandoned and was used to handle Haj operations once a year.
An airport official said proper signages will be placed in and around the airport and airlines will be asked to inform the passengers about the change in terminal as soon as they shift. T2 is almost 8km from T1 and around 500 metres from T3. At present, passengers moving to T2 from the T3 airport metro station have to walk a distance of 1.5km, which includes climbing several stairs and crossing underneath a flyover.
If a tunnel is constructed, then the distance and time will be reduced by half and passengers won’t have to climb any stairs.
After the expansion of T1, both Spicejet and Go Air will be shifted back to T1. Terminal 2 will then be expanded so that Delhi airport can have three different terminals for international airlines, low-cost domestic carriers and full-service domestic airlines. The ministry of civil aviation (MOCA) has approved the plan for airport expansion.
“We will start with the expansion of Terminal 1. In the next three years, the capacity of T1 will increase from 15 million passengers per annum to 30 million pasengers per annum,” said an airport official.