India’s first general aviation terminal for private jets inaugurated
The new terminal, which had been ready for use since July this year and was awaiting a final security nod from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), will start operations from Sunday afternoon, officials familiar with the matter said.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 04:41 IST
India’s first general aviation terminal for private jets -- which promises faster turnaround of business jets and chartered planes, shielding them from the clutter of general passenger terminals where they now compete for taxiing slots with commercial flights -- was inaugurated by union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport on Thursday.
The new terminal, which had been ready for use since July this year and was awaiting a final security nod from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), will start operations from Sunday afternoon, officials familiar with the matter said.
Delhi airport operator DIAL (Delhi International Airport Ltd) said the terminal can handle more than 50 passengers every hour and can cater to 150 private jet movements every day. “The terminal can handle Code C type aircraft, which are 50-seater charter aircraft and the biggest in their category,” the airport operator said.With 57 dedicated chartered aircraft parking bays, the newly developed apron is spread over an area of eight lakh square feet, DIAL said.
The terminal offers a dedicated car parking with direct access to the city side, the airport operator said, adding the building and aircraft boarding area are at a walking distance from each other for easy and quick boarding or alighting of passengers.
Apart from its aircraft handling capacity, the terminal building houses spacious passenger lounges, food and beverage sections, 24x7 personal concierge services and common processing area, the airport operator said.
“For quick access, the terminal has its own immigration and customs area. Facilities for crew members and staff such as restrooms and briefing area are available in this new terminal, DIAL said.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which guards the Delhi airport, will also manage security of the new terminal.
A senior CISF officer, who did not wish not to be named, said at least 40-45 CISF armed personnel will be deployed at the new terminal throughout to frisk passengers and to secure the perimeter.
The terminal has an access control system, Wi-Fi enabled services, and an integrated perimeter security control system, DIAL said.
The terminal was built at a cost of Rs150 crore over one-and-a-half years by Bird ExecuJet Airport Services Private Limited, a joint venture between Bird Group and ExecuJet Aviation Group, an international business aviation company based in Switzerland’s Zurich Airport.
A spokesperson from the Bird ExecuJet Airport Services Private Limited said nothing was imported for the construction of the terminal and it is purely India made.
“It’s a proud moment and we hope given the current scenario, the GA terminal will prove to be a gateway for foreign investors, connecting them directly to the national capital,” the spokesperson said.
Puri, who inaugurated the terminal, said India’s civil aviation sector is all set to emerge stronger in a post-Coid world and general aviation will have a significant contribution to it. The new terminal at Delhi airport is the need of the hour, which would significantly support this growth, the minister said.
Delhi-based private jet operators said they were looking forward to operating from the new base.
Kanika Tekriwal, CEO and founder of JetSetGo Aviation, a private jet operator based in Delhi, said, “With the new terminal for private jets, we will address two major things -- time and exclusivity. Earlier, our guests used to board their flights from either Terminal 1 or Terminal 3, along with commercial flight passages, and took similar processes to board a private flight, making it challenging for someone who is paying a premium price.”
“Now, with the new terminal, our guests will be able to fly with us in almost no time and with utmost privacy,” Tekriwal said,explaining that this, however, will not really change the number of flight slots they get.
Despite the new terminal, private aircraft will still have to compete for take-off and landing slots with commercial flights. An official from Delhi airport said that the new terminal will help cut time. “Runway 29/11 -- the largest in Delhi -- is closer to the new terminal, and this will make taxiing time of these private aircraft significantly shorter,” he said, adding the shorter distance between the terminal building and flight boarding point will also make the process of boarding quicker and less cumbersome.
Tekriwal said the charges for hiring a private jet depend on the size of aircraft and the length of the trip. “They start at Rs 80,000 per hour for an eight-seater turbo-prop and go all the way to Rs 5-6 lakh per hour for a 16-seater jet. Plus there are airport and other landing charges.”
Captain Archit Gupta, CEO, Atom Aviation, another Delhi-based private jet service provider, said the new terminal looks classy and elegant. “It has been rightly designed but the capacity of 50 passengers per hour is slightly low as bigger aircraft have more passengers. When more than 2-3 departures happen at the same time, there could be chaos.”