After upgrading passenger terminals at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), airport authorities are to now concentrate on cargo facilities. To keep pace with the growth in airfreight from Delhi and neighbouring areas, airport operator Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) is developing a brand new cargo terminal.
The new terminal, which is scheduled to be ready by early 2010, would come up next to the existing cargo terminal.
"Present cargo facilities are extremely inadequate, not only at the IGIA but also at others," said Kapil Kaul, CEO, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation India. "Apart from constructing a new terminal or warehouses, the entire logistic value chain has to be improved. Services around the cargo terminal for exports and imports should improve too," he said.
Kaul said improved cargo facilities would also help the airport operator maximise its revenue. "Cargo is a vital revenue stream and investment should be made to build world-class structures," he said. "In the future, Delhi would have to compete with Dubai and Singapore airports and IGIA's facilities should be comparable," he said.
DIAL has invited proposals from cargo-handling firms to design, develop, finance, build and operate this terminal for a 25-year concession period. DIAL also plans to upgrade and modernise the existing cargo facility at IGIA and separate proposals have been invited for this project.
The existing cargo terminal was commissioned in 1986 for the processing of import, export and unaccompanied baggage. This terminal has a capacity to handle up to 0.5 million metric tonne of cargo per annum and at present handles 0.3 million metric tones of cargo. With the addition of the new terminal, IGIA's cargo handling capacity would go up to 1 million metric tonnes.
While at present six wide-bodied aircraft near the cargo terminal, the number would more than double when the renovation work is complete.
The new terminal would be spread over 70,000 square metres, which is also the size of the existing terminal. Apart from better cargo handling and processing facilities, special refrigeration and handling facilities would be provided for products with low shelf life like medicines, flowers, fruits, vegetables, meat and other special cargo.