Low-cost airlines have been given a month’s time to mutually decide on who will shift operations to the revamped Terminal 2 at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in New Delhi, failing which the airport operator will decide on the future course of action. This is the latest attempt by the government to break the deadlock among various airlines following a proposal to shift flight operations to T2 from Terminal 1 in order to ease congestion. IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir operate flights from T1.
“In case there is no consensus among the airlines by June 15, 2017 on the modalities for operationalising T2 and shifting operations from T1D, the airport operator will decide the suitable course of action which shall be binding on these airlines,” stated a letter from the ministry of civil aviation dated June 14. The letter was addressed to all the three airlines concerned as well as Delhi International Airport (DIAL). The letter emphasises that if airlines fail to arrive at a consensus, all stakeholders shall comply with the decision of the airport operator. DIAL, the joint venture firm, which runs the IGI airport, plans to expand the existing terminal to a much bigger facility. There are two operational terminals at the airport – T1 and T3. While T1 has a rated capacity of 20 million passengers a year, the number of passengers passing through that terminal is around 24 million. Against this backdrop, DIAL wants the carriers to shift operations to the refurbished T2. International flights used to operate from T2 before the commissioning of the existing T3.
There have been several rounds of discussions among the airlines, DIAL and the civil aviation ministry and the latest letter follows last week’s stakeholders’ meeting. The letter also lists various options being considered such as shifting some flights of all airlines operating at T1 to T2 in proportion of their respective capacity at T1, or shifting the future incremental traffic of all airlines operating at T1 to T2 or shifting some of the metro city pairs to T2. Ministry sources have earlier said that the option of offering additional slots is also being considered in order to incentivise those airlines that make the shift. As per initial plans, SpiceJet and GoAir were told to relocate their operations to T2 from January 1 this year.
When they refused, DIAL proposed another plan as per which the three airlines were told to shift their Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru flights to T2 from February 15. However, this proposal too did not materialise. As per the master plan for the Delhi airport that was approved by the ministry last year, existing T1 area would be increased to 133,000 sq m from the present 53,000 sq m and it would be able to handle 23 million passengers. A total of 10 aerobridges would also be constructed while the number of boarding gates would be increased to 25 from eight.