According to news reports, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is finally in take-off mode. After copping a jet load of flak by overstepping several deadlines for the new international and domestic terminals and delaying them by two years, AAI will finally open the domestic terminal for arrivals on Friday.
The glitzy structure, which has every facility expected in a world-class airport terminal, is expected to enhance flyer experience exponentially, as passengers using the airport have for long been used to making do with the drab old terminal, the report stated.
However, AAI officials refused to set a date for opening the international terminal, saying only that it would be opened once all systems are moved from the old domestic terminal to the new one and they are satisfied that operations are streamlined.
Unlike the domestic terminal, the existing international terminal will continue to function once the new one is opened, serving to augment capacity for international flights. The new terminals were supposed to be ready by January 2011.
AAI officials took the decision to open the new domestic terminal after meeting officials of all airlines on Monday and discussing issues pertaining to moving operations to the new facility.
“Airlines have agreed to shift to the new terminal and we will do this gradually,” said AAI executive director (technical) E P Hareendranathan. “We are planning to handle one or two flights a day to begin with. All arrival operations will be shifted and stabilised in 10 days.”
The opening of the new terminal had been delayed because of various issues, including baggage handling. “We have decided to waive royalty for Bhadra for three months,” Hareendranathan said, referring to the baggage handling agency. “Airlines can hire battery-operated tugs at a reduced rate to move luggage in the basement of the building.”