The Terminal 3 (T3) of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, the sixth biggest airport terminal in the world, celebrates its first anniversary next week.
Spread across 5.4million sq ft, the integrated Terminal 3 was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 3, 2010. The private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL), is planning celebrations around the showcase terminal from Sunday.
Though DIAL is mum on the issue, sources said celebrations would be slightly subdued as the operator is not in a jubilant mood after the airport development fee it collected from passengers was recently stopped after court orders.
In the last one year, the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has taken a huge leap from crammed and dilapidated international Terminal 2 to the swanky Terminal 3, which passengers affirm to be comparable with the best airport terminals in the world.
Constructing Terminal 3 was an engineering challenge completed within a record time of 37 months. The massive
project required 18,000 metric tons of structural steels to just build the roof, 100,000 sqm of curtain wall, 1,10,000 sqm of granite imported from Bahrain for floors, 1,70,000 sqm of carpet material and 9 lakh trees and plants for landscaping.
At the peak of construction, 30,000 workers and engineers were engaged 24X7 with the project. After its grand inauguration, Terminal 3 witnessed a series of teething trouble first with the beginning of international operations and more with the domestic operations.
Domestic operations at T3 missed three deadlines and began on a shaky note from November, more than four months behind schedule. Duty free shops and a transit hotel promised at the terminal also took some time to open.
Despite the initial problems, operations have now stabilised at Terminal 3 and the general feedback, both from Indian
and foreign passengers, is positive. The only issues that remain, as per a study done by DIAL itself, is the huge walks passengers have to take while boarding their aircraft and the imported carpets at the terminal which many find difficult to walk on.
The construction of the northern access road has made reaching the airport easier, which was earlier only accessible from the congested
NH-8. The opening of the Metro’s Airport Express line few months ago and availability of Delhi Transport Corporation’s air-conditioned buses has provided more options to passengers.