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IGIA modernisation process takes off

The process of modernisation of the Indira Gandhi International Airport kickstarted on Saturday, report Sidhartha Roy and Vijaita Singh.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2007 02:31 IST

The process of modernisation of the Indira Gandhi International Airport kickstarted on Saturday after chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone of a new integrated terminal and a third runway.

“We are on the threshold of a new modernisation and the new terminal building will be a testimony to public-private partnership,” Gandhi said.

The new integrated terminal III is expected to be over before the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the third runway by March 2008, as part of the first phase of IGIA’s modernisation. The terminal will handle 37 million passengers a year. The new 4.4-km, CAT III-B-equipped runway can even accommodate the Airbus A-380, the biggest airliner ever built.

The new terminal will have 130 check-in counters, 74 aerobridges, automated passenger movers, restaurants, shopping joints and a high-speed Metro rail ferrying passengers from the city, Chairman of the Delhi International Airport (P) Limited (DIAL) G.M. Rao said. He said a total investment of Rs 8,500 crore would be made up to 2010 and an additional Rs 3,500 crore would be required for the Metro rail link.

Gandhi stressed that air connectivity to the northeast and places of historical and cultural importance should be improved.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said there was an urgent need to revamp government policies if the aviation sector was to prosper. “On many accounts, we have failed on the infrastructure front. To see the aviation sector flourish, infrastructure must be in place,” Patel said.

He added that he had great expectations from the private consortia GMR and said the airport modernization project was a “matter of prestige for the nation”.

Remembering her husband and late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, an aviator himself, Sonia Gandhi said his dreams of revolution in computers and communication were flourishing now after two decades.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. Rajshekhar Reddy were present on the occasion.