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Delhi airport to be upgraded

The Delhi airport currently handles 10 mn passengers and the plan is to upgrade it to 35 mn in the first phase.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 15:50 IST

The GMR group, that has taken over the operations and modernisation of Delhi airport, has targeted to handle 35 million passengers - more than three times the current capacity - by 2010 as part of a master plan under preparation that includes a third runway.

Company sources said a 90-day work programme has started for taking over the airport from the current management and 17 areas have been identified for an immediate makeover - including better and cleaner toilets, additional trolleys, more restaurants and general aesthetics.

Talks are also on with the Delhi Metro Rail Corp to bring its suburban service right up to the terminals before the 2010 Commonwealth Games here, even as the process of taking over the airport's management has begun, company sources said.

An initial public offering by GMR Infrastructure to finance the capital costs towards modernising and upgrading of the Delhi airport is also planned in July. "We have already filed our prospectus with the regulators," an official said.

The GMR-led consortium - which includes Frankfurt airport operator Fraport - has appointed London-based Mott McDonald as lead the technical advisor for the Delhi airport, while global architects HOK will design the civil work.

The Bangalore-based consortium had won a tender earlier this year for modernising and upgrading the airport here amid stiff competition. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will hold a 26 per cent stake in the new venture.

Under an operation, maintenance and development agreement with the AAI, the GMR-led consortium can undertake various airport functions, such as design, development, construction and management of the airport.

A decongestion plan is also being framed under which the fight handling capacity of the airport will be upgraded to around 45 aircraft an hour from 35 at present even as an online flight information service is being put in place.

"We will also eventually spruce up the duty free shops at the airport. We are in talks with the existing players and may go in for a new commercial agreement. We may also invite fresh bids from global players," an official said.

The Delhi airport currently handles some 10 million passengers - both domestic and international - and the plan is to upgrade it to 35 million in the first phase by 2010 and 100 million by 2035.