Lots of last minute fine-tuning is responsible for the delay in the opening of Delhi airport's new Terminal 3 (T3). The airlines have claimed that the infrastructure of the terminal is yet not ready to handle smooth flight operations.
The terminal, inaugurated on July 3, was scheduled to open for commercial operations from July 14. However, private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) has decided to start operations of international airlines from July 28 and that of domestic airlines from August 27, instead of July 30.
Airlines claim that DIAL will have to race against time to meet even the new deadline. "Though the terminal building is ready, the
Airlines are yet to be provided back-end offices at T3.
Airline lounges are under construction.
Duty-free shops and food outlets have not yet come up.
Airlines are still unsure about charges being paid for using T3's facilities.
Another issue that airlines have raised with DIAL is the non-availability of airline lounges at T3. "None of the airlines have been given lounges as these are not constructed yet. DIAL was supposed to at least provide common lounges but even that, it seems, will take some time," he said.
"The duty-free shops and food and beverage outlets too haven't come up yet. In case a flight is delayed, where will the passengers go for refreshments," said an official of an Indian carrier, requesting anonymity.
DIAL, however, claims that all necessary infrastructure has been provided. "We have provided the space to airlines for offices and also counters, they will have to bring their equipment and start operating," said a DIAL spokesman.
He said similarly, space and required equipment for retail and food outlets have been provided and the firms just need to move in and start operations.
DIAL, however, admitted that lounges will take some time. "Even in other airports lounges have come up much after new terminals opened, this will not affect flight operations," he said.
Airlines also said there was no clarity on the charges they had to pay for parking, aerobridges, counters and other facilities.
The lack of assured power backup for T3 through a dedicated substation is also a worrying factor for airlines.