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Delhi Airport turns World Class

New Delhi. Seventy eight aerobridges, 25 km of taxiways, 5 million sq meters area, 63 elevators, 35 escalators, 92 automatic walkways, a pier each for international and domestic operations spanning 1.2 km from one end to other, 168 check-in counters and 95 immigration desks make the newly inaugurated Terminal 3 (T3) at the Delhi International Airport amongst the best in the world.

A terminal with runways capable of handling the A-380 and Boeing 787 has become operative months ahead of the Commonwealth Games here. Built by the GMR Group, which operates the airport, its big infrastructure has been completed on time and with high international standards, drawing praise from Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who inaugurating the terminal recently.

“An airport is often the first introduction to a country, and a good airport such as this would signal our joining the ranks of industrialised nations of the world. It also proved the success of the public-private partnership model for big infrastructure projects, Dr Manmohan Singh said, noting that some 58 government departments were involved.”

National Advisory Council (NAC) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The new terminal can cater to 34 million passengers annually. The shiny steel and glass terminal has over 20,000 sq meters of retail area, including a large food court. It can handle 12,800 pieces of baggage per hour, and has 6.4 km of conveyor belts and a multi-layer parking facility that can accommodate 4,300 cars.

A unique feature is a 100-room transit hotel in the international departure area.

The airport has lounges on the first floor, airline offices on the second and the hotel on the third. T3 is barrier-free to suit requirements of passengers with special needs or reduced mobility.

“Today is a very special occasion for our country. We are all very happy and indeed very proud of the completion of our one of the world’s largest airport terminals in a record time of 37 months. This airport terminal establishes new global bench marks. It also exemplifies our country’s resolve to bridge and bridge fast enough the infrastructure deficit in our country,” Dr Singh said while dedicating the terminal to the people of India.

“T3 is not just a building, it is a statement and the cost to build the T3 was higher than estimated, but people should not mind paying the special airport usage fee and toll tax,” said Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.

“The aviation sector is a vital to India’s sustained economic growth. It plays a major role in generating tourist flow, accelerating industrial development, creating new jobs and integrating our country. In a span of a few years, India has become the 9th largest aviation market in the world. We now have 10 scheduled airlines operating in our country, compared to 2 in 1990. In the same period, the scheduled aircraft deployed by the Indian carriers has gone up four times, from 100 to about 400,” he added.

It is estimated that India’s aviation sector has the potential to absorb up to US$ 120 billion of investment by the year 2020.

Delhi Airport turns World Class-1Analysts predict that domestic traffic can reach 160 to 180 million and international traffic in excess of 50 million by the year 2020. The airport’s developers include infrastructure major GMR Group, the state-run Airports Authority of India, construction giant Larsen &Toubro, Fraport of Germany, Malaysian Airport Holding, Siemens and numerous other big, medium and small enterprises.

AAI, which is exclusively responsible for managing the 2.8 million square NM Indian airspace, controls all airborne operations, including to and from Delhi. Having anticipated the growth in traffic at Delhi airport, especially after the new terminal buildings coming up, AAI took timely action to enhance the Air Traffic Management facilities.

There is also the Automation Tooling System (ATS) to facilitate capabilities like Arrival Manager, Medium Term Conflict Alert (MTCA), Minimum Safe Altitude Warning (MSAW}, Short Term Conflict Alert (STCA} and Remote Monitoring.

Reduction of horizontal separation to 50 NM from 80 NM has been planned.

Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures have been implemented at Delhi, allowing structured flow of traffic and thereby increasing its capacity and improving safety levels. There is also the Airport Surface Movement Guidance and Control System [ASMGCS] to improve ground safety, and help in conducting safe Cat II & Cat III operations at the airport.

The Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) has been planned for Delhi airport by the year end. The GBAS Station is able to support multiple runway ends. Flight Inspection and maintenance requirements is reduced compared to the traditional Instrument Landing System (ILS).

GBAS is a safety-critical system that augments the GPS Standard Positioning Service (SPS) and provides enhanced levels of service. It supports all phases of approach, landing, departure, and surface operations within its area of coverage.

GBAS is expected to play a key role in maintaining existing all-weather operations capability at CAT I, II and III airports. GBAS CAT-I is seen as a necessary step towards the more stringent operations of CAT-II/III precision approach and landing.

The Delhi airport will have a new format of the Flight Plan (FPL) by 15 November 2012 as per the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Regional Plan. It is designed to meet the needs of aircraft with advanced capabilities and the evolving requirements of automated Air traffic Management systems. With this, an operator will be able to submit FPL 120 hrs in advance instead of 24 hrs.

On the anvil are plans to operationalise the Indian SBAS for Global Navigation satellite system by 2013, which is being developed jointly by AAI and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). This will facilitate seamless operations through direct ATS routes and User Preferred Routes (UPRs) without using ground based Nav-aids.

The airport will benefit in the coming years from the GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) project that would help seamless tracking and communication between aircraft and ground control over the airspace in India and adjoining countries in accordance with ICAO directives.

© India Strategic