By Rohit Vaid
New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) Becoming the hub of at least two airlines and housing a 43-acre hospitality district, the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here is set for a big leap in passenger traffic. Currently, no airport in India caters to two airlines as a hub or a base of operations. Also, there is neither any hospitality-based Aerocity operational anywhere else in the country.
“Delhi airport is already the busiest in India with passenger traffic growing in double digits. Addition of infrastructure like Aerocity project will help it in absorbing the growth in passenger traffic,” said Rajiv Chib, associate director, aerospace and defence at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Marcel Hungerbuehler, chief operating officer, Delhi International Airport Limited, the company which manages Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, concurred. “We already have world class infrastructure in place to handle any exponential growth in passenger traffic,” he told IANS.
“Air India has already made terminal-3 (T3) as its hub and we will be pleased if the proposed Tata-SIA (Singapore Airlines) airline makes IGIA its base or hub in the future,” he added.
Last year the IGIA handled approximately 36.77 million passengers and 590,000 tonnes of cargo.
Air India is focussing on providing easy transit for passengers to various connecting international and domestic destinations in line with international practices followed at other global airports like Singapore’s Changi, London’s Heathrow, New York’s JFK and Frankfurt.
Apart from Air India, Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines have announced their plans to launch a new full-service private carrier based in the national capital.
The proposal of their $100 million joint venture (JV) was approved by the FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) in October, last year. Officials of the proposed airline hope to launch services by May-June 2014.
According to aviation industry experts, another major factor which will boost passenger traffic to and from the national capital is the addition of Delhi Aerocity near the IGIA.
“The Areocity project will add hotel rooms, office space and commercial activity area and with two airlines making the city’s airport as a hub will only add value to the travelling passenger,” Ankur Bhatia, member, Confederation of Indian Industry’s panel on civil aviation, told IANS.
The Aerocity project is expected to ultimately house 16 luxury hotels and commercial spaces. Currently, major brands like Marriott, Lemon Tree Premier and Red Fox hotels are in operation in the Aerocity complex.
Patu Keswani, chairman and managing director, Lemon Tree Hotel Company, said passenger traffic from the IGIA would grow.
“We are very positive that air traffic from Delhi is bound to grow. This is evident with the fact that Tata-SIA’s proposed airline has indicated that they might make Delhi as their operations hub,” Keswani said.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)