When 200 passengers of Air India's Washington-New York-Delhi flight land at Delhi airport on Wednesday at 4.45 pm, they will all become the part of history.
The Air India's flight AI 102 will be the first commercial flight to arrive at the new Terminal 3 (T3) of Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA). The Boeing 777 200 LR aircraft will dock at one of the 78 aerobridges of the world's eight-largest terminal.
The Air India flight will be part of total seven 'proving flights' on Wednesday that will test the efficiency of the new terminal and those manning it. Apart from two Air India arrivals and one departure, there will one departure and one arrival each of Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. Passengers travelling by the above flights have been informed individually by their respective airlines.
There will be two more 'proving flights' on July 15 when world's largest passenger aircraft Airbus A380 of Emirates Airlines will arrive and depart from T3. The flight will land on IGI Airport's A380 compatible runway 29/11.
The proving flights will check operational readiness of all the agencies like the airlines, ground handling agencies, aviation oil companies, air traffic control (ATC), flight caterers, concessionaires, duty-free shops, airport operator and statutory agencies like Customs, immigration, Central Industrial Security Force in carrying out their designated tasks.
The private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL), along with around 450 personnel from 13 airlines and other agencies associated with ground handling, screening and baggage handling at T3, conducted a full trial of all the operations on Tuesday.
DIAL said its customer service executives will be available at both Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 to guide passengers. A regular, free shuttle service will be available from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 to transport any passengers who may have reached Terminal 2 by mistake.
Though the Air India flight will mark the opening of T3, the terminal's commercial operations have been postponed to July 28 due to unfinished work. While international operations will begin on July 28, domestic operations of Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher, slated to take place from July 30,
have also been deferred by a month and will now begin from August 27.
Till date, there have been 13 basic trials, 33 advanced trials and 10 Air taxi simulation trials conducted at T3. The trials included simulation of 50,000 mock passengers and 80,000 bags.
While these were purely a simulation of the processes, the 'proving flights' will enable all the stakeholders to perform their functions in actual operations with real passengers.