Last week, an airline coach ferrying finance professional Kunal Deshpande (39) from the domestic terminal to the aircraft parked on the tarmac took more than 30 minutes — a quarter of the time it takes to fly to Delhi.
Deshpande could have made the same journey in five minutes if the new domestic terminal (1C) with its six aerobridges was ready for use. Scheduled to be ready by January 31, the city’s third domestic terminal will not be ready before April.
“The terminal is likely to be operational by mid-April,” said a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson without explaining the cause of the delay.
This the second time the GVK-led private consortium has missed the deadline for the terminal. It was originally scheduled to be operational by December 2009.
Currently, terminal 1A has two aerobridges. With a large portion of the airfield under construction, the new terminal would have made a huge difference in easing ground traffic.
“Repair of the secondary runway and taxiways are making airlines’ coaches crawl. The new aerobridges would have been a great help,” said a senior airline official, requesting anonymity. The on-time performance records of airlines have also suffered because airfield congestion has slowed ground traffic.
Shortage of security personnel to guard the new terminal once its ready, is another problem worrying the airport authorities. According to an assessment done by the Central Industrial Security Force, the airport will need 135 jawans to guard the new terminal but their Delhi headquarters is yet to sanction the manpower.
The new structure, which will not have check-in counters unlike the other two terminals, has plans to build an in-house hotel for business travellers and an elaborate shopping area. Airport officials however, said the deadline for the hotel is not clear.