“It rarely happens that the same minister who presides over the bhoomipujan (ceremonial inauguration) of a project, also presides over its inauguration,” Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said on Saturday after Delhi Airport’s new Terminal 3 (T3) was opened.
Patel was alluding to the usually protracted process of completion of an official project.
Completed within a record time of 37 months, T3 was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday. Flight operations at the brand new terminal will begin from July 14.
International airlines will be first to shift to T3, with the first flight out of T3 being Air India’s direct New York-Delhi flight (AI 102) at 4.45 pm on July 14. Most domestic airlines will shift on July 30-31.
To celebrate the opening of T3, Emirates Airlines might fly in Airbus A-380 to T3 later in July, sources at the airport said. GMR Airports chief Kiran Gandhi said the airline has not yet formally informed the authorities about their plans.
The PM said that his government had launched a modernisation and capacity expansion programme for major airports some years ago.
“Today we see one of the successes of that initiative.”
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said that with the Commonwealth Games round the corner, great demand would be placed not just on the airport but also on the facilities the city offered, its administration and its people.
T3 will also feature comfortable lounges, nap and shower rooms, restaurants, bars, cafes and fast food outlets.