Delhi airport enters the 21st Century with Terminal 3
When I run my India Training Workshops, I often start with a short clip from the 2006 movie “Rang De Basanti” which shows the chaotic scene as a young woman, Sue (played by Alice Patten) from the United Kingdom emerges from Delhi Airport’s international arrival section. Business people from overseas have had to steel themselves from this onslaught for decades now.
This agony is to end in July 2010.
Sprawling over four 1.5 square miles, Delhi Terminal 3 was completed by an Indian-led consortium in just 37 months. Built to coincide with Delhi’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games (which include all countries that were formerly ruled by the United Kingdom) in October, the facility features 90 automated walkways and 200,000 square feet of shopping space.
Luxury brands will include Gucci,Versace, L’Oreal, and Christian Dior while quick service restaurants from Pizza Hut, KFC, Costa Coffee, Copper Chimney, Flavours, Cafe Ritazza and The Food Village are expected to open soon as well.
There is a 100-room transit hotel and business lounge inside the terminal itself. The glass and steel structure has 78 jetways (more than Singapores Changi’s Terminal 2), and 168 check-in counters and is fully equipped to receive the Airbus A-380, world’s largest passenger aircraft.
Domestic operations from T3 start from July 30 after Air India and private carriers Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines shift out of Terminals 1A and 1D. IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir will continue their operations from the existing Terminal 1D. International carriers will use the new terminal as well.
The government expects an annual 10 percent increase in domestic air passengers to 180 million by 2020, while it says international traffic could top 50 million in another decade.
Delhi T3 was built through a public-private partnership headed by south India-based GMR Group – a financial model seen as the most viable for India to execute large infrastructure projects because it eases the burden on scarce government resources. GMR and its Managing Director GM Rao have been at the forefront of a number of large initiatives in India, including power plants, toll roads, sugar factories and even the Delhi Daredevils, a cricket team.
What does this mean to readers of the India Expert, besides a more pleasant entry into India’s capital city? It is another sign that India’s infrastructure problems may slowly but surely start to be solved. It may take a couple of decades before the country can rival today’s China but the forward motion is encouraging.