Delhi’s IGI- India’s busiest airport

IGI operations take a big leap
Neha Lalchandani, TNN, Dec 8, 2010, 06.14am IST

NEW DELHI: Delhi's IGI airport is the busiest airport in the country at present, handling an average of about 843 flights per day. On November 29, it handled its highest ever traffic with 865 operations. Officials say that there has been a drastic increase since the winter schedule kicked in, specially with Air India having introduced hub operations. However, the high numbers could also spell massive delays during fog if both runways are not available for operations.

In September, before the winter schedule kicked in, IGI airport was seeing an average of 795 movements per day. ''There has been quite a major jump in movements since September. We are also seeing a lot of unscheduled movement and military operations because of which the numbers keep fluctuating each day. However, at optimum utilization, Delhi can handle a much larger number of flights,'' said senior airport officials.

The factors for growth in Delhi's traffic, other than the fact that it is the capital city, include its central position in airlines' hub planning. With Air India declaring it its hub and introducing extra flights this season, movement went up by about 40. Other airlines have already announced their plans of following suit, contingent on how successful the new terminal 3 is. '

'T3 has promised a lot of opportunities and we are hoping to utilize it optimally to our benefit. Sometime in the near future we should also be able to start hub operations from here,'' said an airline official. To help matters, Mumbai airport is yet to be fully completed and its own capacity has been reduced tremendously. ''We are looking at a further growth in traffic in Delhi and by next year, we could easily be touching 1,000 operations per day. In terms of infrastructure, Delhi can easily handle that much traffic.

However, in view of the upcoming fog season and the curfewed operations on at present, officials are worried that delays might be quite crippling. ''To minimize noise pollution, runways 29 and 28/27 are being used by turn for arrivals. This has reduced runway capacity and to be able to comfortably handle Delhi's traffic, we need to use the runways independently of each other.'' said sources.

Read more: IGI operations take a big leap – The Times of India