Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Delhi airport upgradation on fast track

Delhi airport upgradation on fast trackDelhi is on its way to getting a world class international airport.

The modernization of the Indira Gandhi International Airport being carried out by Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) is on schedule. In August, the Delhi airport announced the opening of Asia’s longest runway after conducting a successful test take-off and landing.

Currently, work is on simultaneously for the construction of a new domestic terminal, the modernization of the existing international terminal, a world class integrated passenger terminal (Terminal 3) and a third runway for the airport.

The 60m wide runway is among the longest in Asia and consists of seven layers. Civil aviation minister Praful Patel inaugurated the new runway along with other senior political leaders and the top brass of the GMR led consortium that is in charge of the modernization of the IGI airport.

The new runway has nearly doubled the airport’s peak-hour capacity from 35-40 aircraft landings and take-offs to about 75.

The two earlier operational parallel runways handle nearly 700 flights a day.
Since existing runways converge and are very close to each other, simultaneous use of both runways was not possible.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) stipulates that there has to be a distance of at least 1,035 metres between two runways for simultaneous landing or takeoff. The shift to performance-based navigation (PBN) from conventional navigation system leads to a lot of reduction in the distance between two aircraft waiting to land at an airport thereby allowing faster takeoffs and landings.

PBN allows aircraft to take advantage of installed on-board technology and break from the traditional, and a bit rigid, ground based navigation system.

Upon transiting to performance based navigation, aircraft will be able to fly flexible, point-to-point routes accurately.

Other by-products of the introduction of PBN include lesser fuel burn and higher levels of safety.

According to sources, the ministry is also working on reducing the lateral displacement of aircraft, which would help in increasing air space capacity and ease traffic growth. “We have already reduced the vertical separation to 1,000 ft at a flight level of 29,000 ft and above,” a civil aviation ministry source said.

The implementation of PBN is being done with the cooperation of the Airports Authority of India, DGCA and the civil aviation ministry. While the AAI has formulated procedures for RNAV arrival and departures for Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad airports, the DGCA has laid down the minimum requirements for the aircraft and its crew to partake in the PBN. The requirements are based on the PBN manual published by the ICAO.

Work on the Passenger Terminal Building (Terminal 3) has also started. T3 will be spread over 480,000 m² and rival some of the best airports in the world. Most of the excavation work for the PTB has already been carried out. Construction of the four boarding piers has also commenced. Concrete reinforcement work for the pier footings is under progress and the base for the first pier has been completed.

The piers will house 55 contact stands for aircraft. It is estimated that over 90% of the passengers at T3 will be serviced through aerobridges.

The project is one of the largest of its kind in the country. With more than 5,000 workers, involved in the construction work, the first phase itself would consume more than 54 Lakh Metric Tonnes (MT) of aggregate, 4.5 Lakh MT of cement and 90,000 MT of steel. Around 1,000 trucks visit the site daily with the construction material in addition to more than 200 excavators, pavers, dumpers, vibratory rollers and cranes engaged in the construction activity.

In addition to the construction of the T3 and runway, work is fast progressing on the new domestic terminal as well. This terminal will be ready in mid 2008 and cater to the fast growing passenger traffic within the country. Major excavation work on the site has already been carried out. The multi-level car parks are also fast progressing and work will soon start on the expansion of the arrivals hall as well.

The modernization works of the international terminal (T2) is also on schedule. The revamped T2 will feature a whole new look with additional space being added for check-in, immigration and customs desks. T2 will feature an advanced in-line baggage handling system which will not only speed up check in process, but also make it much more safe and secure. The modernization work for T2 will also be completed by mid-2008.

New Delhi, host of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, is also sprucing up infrastructure to allow carriers like Emirates, British Airways and Air France to operate Airbus’s flagship A380 on routes to the Indian capital.

DIAL is a joint venture company; comprising the GMR Group, Airports Authority of India, Fraport, Malaysian Airport and India Development Fund.

It is working towards the modernization and restructuring of the Delhi Airport. The project being developed by DIAL under Public Private Partnership has been given the mandate to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the Delhi Airport for 30 years with an option to extend it by another 30 years.

GMR Infrastructure has also sent teams to West Asia and South-East Asia to market the 45 acres on lease.