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IGI's jumbo flight

delhi Updated: Jun 12, 2010 01:44 IST
Sidhartha Roy

On July 14, Air India's New York-Delhi flight (AI 102) is expected to land at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport at its usual time of 4.45 pm This flight, however, will mark a historic moment. See Graphics.

The direct New York-Delhi flight of the national carrier, which will take off from the JFK Airport, will be the first flight to arrive at IGI airport's brand new Terminal 3.

About two hours later, Air India's Delhi-Dubai flight (AI 895), will earn the honour of the first departure from T3.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the new integrated terminal on July 3. Flight operations, however, will start from July 14 after all international airlines shift to T3 from the present international terminal. Domestic operations will begin from July 31, again with an Air India flight from Chennai.

Spread across 5.4 million sq ft, T3 is set to be the eighth largest airport terminal in the world. The building's sprawling piers is 1.2 km from one end to the other.

To help passengers cover the distance, T3 will have 89 ‘travelators', in addition to 63 elevators and 31 escalators. Eight of the travelators will be inclined, a first in India.

T3 will have five level in-line baggage handling system with explosive detection technology to ensure quicker processing and higher security. The total length of conveyor belts is 6,400 metres to handle 12,800 bags in an hour.

Car parking, a major hassle at the airport at present, is expected to be a smooth affair thanks to a multi-level car parking right in front of the terminal building, with a capacity to accommodate 4,300 cars. Additionally a separate surface parking area will also available for 2,200 cars.