Work on air-train link for Delhi's IGI terminals to start soon | India News

NEW DELHI: Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) may soon begin work to link IGI Airport’s terminals by a partially underground, surface and elevated air train for seamless transfer of passengers.
Tenders for the Rs 2,500-crore project that will link T1-Aerocity-cargo terminal-T2/3 through the automated people mover (APM) are likely to be issued by next month, said sources. The winning bidder, in terms of cost and suitable technology, may be finalised by the year-end so that work can begin in early 2023 and be completed in three years, they added.
Comments from DIAL, sought on Tuesday, were awaited till the time of going to press.
The government is learnt to be in consultation with airlines and DIAL to develop Indira Gandhi International Airport as a true global hub. The Tata Group with its four airlines – Air India, AI Express, Vistara and AirAsia India – and IndiGo have major international network expansion plans, with Delhi as one of their biggest hubs. Hence, there may soon be mega home airlines that will require a hub, like Emirates in Dubai, Qatar Airways in Doha, Singapore Airlines at Changi, Lufthansa in Frankfurt and United in Newark.
For becoming a hub, the Delhi airport needs to work on two key things – big transit areas for all transfers and a seamless mechanism for transfers between terminals.
The big transit areas, on which DIAL is learnt to be already working, is required to accommodate international-to-domestic and vice-versa; international-to-international and domestic-to-domestic passengers. A seamless mechanism will be essential to transfer passengers between Terminal 1 (T1) that is undergoing expansion; 2010-era T3 and and Asiad Games 1982 vintage T2 that will in a few years make way for a bigger terminal. Several hubs abroad have APMs, or air train in New York JFK’s case.
“DIAL is ready to implement these things. It is in talks with the government to see if the latter can support with the funding of APM at IGIA to implement the vision of India getting its first true global hub here,” said sources. IGIA is already preparing for the mega airlines by having virtually dedicated spaces for them.
With four runways, three mega terminals, and India’s first elevated taxiway (operational by next year), IGIA can handle traffic that the world’s busiest hubs do. The Mumbai airport, on the other hand, is constrained and another airport is being built at Navi Mumbai. Similarly, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports are unlikely to have the capacity that Delhi can ramp up to.
DIAL recently got a capacity study conducted by the UK-based air traffic management firm NATS that shows IGIA’s four runways can fly in and out as many as 14 crore passengers annually – more than double of the 6.9 crore international-cum-domestic (both arrivals and departures) seen in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.
Tata Group’s airlines operate from T3. Given its scale with nearly 300 planes as of now and over 500 still on order, IndiGo is keen to have its own dedicated terminal. With certain tweaks, it’s possible to have both domestic and international flights from the expanded T1, claim airline insiders.