NEW DELHI: In four years, the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport is expected to contribute 22.2% to Delhi’s GDP. Also on cards by 2020 are an expanded Terminal 1D and a brand-new swanky Terminal 4 as it looks to cement its place among the world’s best.
Over the last few years, the IGI has added many feathers to its cap. Come Tuesday, it turns 10 as a private entity. Ever since it broke the shackles of government control in 2006, the airport has grown by leaps and bounds in more ways than one.
Sample this: Over the last decade, the IGI has seen an increase of almost 2 lakh in air-traffic movement, catering to nearly 32.2 million more passengers. An airport that had a global ranking of 101 in 2006 made the summit in 2014 (in the 25-40 million passengers per annum category), and hasn’t relinquished the spot since then.
Also, the IGI handles the highest passenger and cargo volumes in the country. It serves 120 destinations through 50 international and nine domestic passenger airlines. In addition, there are four international and two domestic freighter airlines.
Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), the GMR-led consortium that runs the IGI, cites a recent survey by the National Council of Applied Economic Research to drive home its point. At an estimated Rs 29,470 crore, the airport contributed 0.45% to the national GDP and 13.53% to the Delhi GDP in 2009-2010. DIAL expects this amount to go up even further to Rs 90,950 crore by 2020.
The consortium has submitted its master plan to the aviation ministry for approval. It proposes to demolish the Haj Terminal (Terminal 2) and make Terminal 4 operational by 2020. Also, a fourth runway would double its flight operation capability. One casualty of all this would the Hotel Centaur, though. “The IGI master plan was prepared in 2006. It’s revised every 10 years,” said DIAL CEO IP Rao.
Rao took TOI through the airport’s decade-long journey. In 2007, it figured among the worst airports in terms of Airport Service Quality (ASQ). “Now, it ranks as world’s No. 1, a spot that it has held for two consecutive years — 2014 and 2015,” Rao said.
Rao attributed this achievement to a “dedicated and consistent” customer-focused approach. “The alignment of all stakeholders, including the airlines, CISF, customs, immigration, ground handlers, support services and others, has had an important role to play (in the success).”
The task of providing a “world-class” airport in an extremely tight timeline of 37 months wasn’t an easy task, though. “When DIAL took over, there were several hurdles. Nearly 1,000 families were residing on the airport premises for over five decades,” said Rao.
Another tough task was to enhance capacity at terminals 1 and 2 with minimum interruption to existing operations. Getting rid of encroachments and acquiring the required machinery and manpower were a few other challenges. In developing the cargo facilities, IGI took all stakeholders-airlines, handling agents and freight forwarders — on board. The same goes for Aerocity, which has emerged as a preferred hospitality and commercial hub for NCR-Delhi.
Technology, of course, has had a vital role to play. Rao elaborated: “Take, for example, the Airport Operations and Control Centre (AOCC), a state-of-the-art facility that allows operations from a remote and secluded facility.”
The airport is also keeping pace with the need to go green. “We have put in place advanced pollution prevention infrastructure and set up rainwater harvesting plants apart from running eco-friendly vehicles to ferry passengers,” Rao said.
Credits ET Realty