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Brand new day for Delhi airport

GMR group-led joint venture DIAL will take over reins of the city airport from AAI today, writes Archis Mohan.

india Updated: Aug 02, 2006 10:34 IST

The GMR group-led joint venture, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) will take over the reins of the city airport from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Wednesday. It will also mark the end of the three-month transition period where AAI and DIAL had managed the airport together.

The handing over of the charge will mean people handpicked by the joint venture replacing senior AAI manages. From Wednesday, there will be no airport director but a chief operating officer.

Several senior AAI officers have resigned and joined DIAL. As per the Operations, Maintenance and Development Agreement (OMDA), the joint venture will need to absorb 60 per cent of the present airport employees. "The 2,380 AAI employees will support us to meet all the targets," said an official.

While the around seven senior managers incharge of airport operations will change, "sovereign functions" like the Air Traffic Control, Customs, Immigration and CISF for security will remain with the government.

The joint venture had started partially managing the airport on May 2. The last three months were a transition period where AAI, which has a 26 per cent stake in DIAL, had played guide to the joint venture.

The first step before the joint venture will be to complete its 20-year master plan, that includes construction of a new terminal and more runways.

Sources said that the master plan will be complete by September end and submitted for approval to the Ministry of Civil Aviation. This will be followed by a month long international tendering process.

In the last three months, the joint venture with AAI's help tried meeting several 'passenger satisfaction' targets like renovated toilets, a canteen, new flooring and seats, more x-ray machines and fixing performance parameters for the vendors at the airport.

The renewal of their contracts would depend on their meeting the performance benchmarks. Work on changing domestic Terminal IB's facade is under way.