24x7 restaurant at airport

Published on Nov 26, 2006 02:43 AM IST

This winter is going to be different for air travelers. No, flights will not take off during dense fog, reports Sidhartha Roy.

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None | BySidhartha Roy, New Delhi

This winter is going to be different for air travelers. No, flights will not take off during dense fog. However, passengers can now look forward to piping hot food while waiting for their flight, available right next to the domestic airport.

As part of its measures to tackle fog-related problems, the Delhi International Airport Private Limited (DIAL) will ensure that passengers stranded due to flight delays are served food and beverages in special, heated tents. However, the food will be only for ticket holders.

DIAL has, however, ensured that visitors, too, are not left out in the cold.

A 24-hour restaurant – ‘Balaji Express’ – was recently opened just outside terminal 1-B at the Delhi Airport. The restaurant specializes in south Indian delicacies but also offers north Indian favourites and other cuisine. DIAL had awarded the contract to PK Hospitality Services to run the restaurant.

Airport officials said that usually a lot of people come to just see off passengers and are not provided any such facility. Even many of the snack bars and lounges inside the airport are not accessible to visitors. As the new restaurant will open 24 hours, they can now have a hearty meal without even entering the terminal.

As for passengers, DIAL will be putting up ‘portacabins’ facing the terminal and has cleared a lot of area in front of 1-B for that purpose. “We are talking to caterers for additional food arrangements for passengers. The portacabins will be heated by non-polluting oil heaters,” said Arun Arora, Vice President (corporate communication), DIAL.

“Keeping in mind the rush of passengers and visitors when flights are delayed, we wanted this restaurant to start before winter sets in,” he said. The restaurant was built and opened as fast as possible and some finishing work is still going on. DIAL is also planning similar restaurants in the International airport by early next year.

The restaurant, which can accommodate more than 100 people at a time, has already become quite popular with passengers and visitors and also airport and airlines employees.

“There are snack bars and lounges inside the airport but they mostly offer items like pastries and sandwiches. The prices are a bit prohibitive too,” said an airlines employee who did not want to be named. “We have our lunch here everyday as the food is very affordable,” he said.

Considering some air tickets are now available for less than Rs 1,000, it was perhaps about time you could get a piping hot plate of chholey bhature at Rs 25.

“We provide catering services to 17 airports in the country but this restaurant is only the second of its kind after Mumbai. This is not a fine-dine restaurant but a value for money one and has been a hit from the first day we opened,” said Navtej Singh, general manager (projects), PK Hospitality private limited.

Email Sidhartha Roy: sidhartha.roy@hindustantimes.com

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