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Roadblocks for new terminals

A world-class airport for the city is still a few years away, reports Sidhartha Roy.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 05:04 IST

A world-class airport for the city is still a few years away, despite the unveiling of the grand plan by the GMR-led Delhi International Airport Private Limited (DIAL).

“The Delhi airport is an operational airport and we get very less time during the day to carry out work. A full-scale renovation work will be problematic for passengers,” said Managing Director of GMR Srinivas Bommidala. “By early 2008, the changes will be visible,” he said on Wednesday.

Big project: DIAL claims that an ‘aerotropolis’ with commercial and business centres and hotels will be developed around the airport, but as of now congestion and flight delays will continue.

In two years the airport will get a new runway equipped with CAT III-B — a landing system under which the visibility required is only 50 metres — which is expected to ease air traffic congestion.

Bommidala said that more X-ray machines would be installed and passenger queues streamlined. “We are urging passengers to carry fewer hand baggage for smoother security check,” he added.

As for air traffic congestion and bundling of most flights during peak hours, Bommidala said it was an issue the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had to look into.

Roadblocks: Bommidala said the airport master plan was submitted to the Civil Aviation Ministry about a month ago and apart from a few things, the plan has found favour with the ministry.

“The ministry has made some observations and we are looking into them,” he said, but did not elaborate what the observations were and brushed them aside as minor matters.

The GMR MD, however, admitted that there were a few impediments in the expansion of the airport. “There is a hospital on the airport premises that has to be shifted,” he said, adding that a few other operational structures will also have to be removed.

Asked about the doubts raised about the viability of a Metro link to the airport, Bommidala said that the Metro has to come to the airport. “A series of meetings has been held at the Prime Minister level on this issue. We are willing to fund up to Rs 350 crore of the Rs 3,800-crore project,” he said.

“The government has to help us out,” added Bommidala.