Delhi’s T2 for short international flights only from 2024
Delhi Airport's Terminal 2 (T2) may be temporarily converted into a concourse for short-haul international flights by the end of 2022, as global travel demand rises. T2 will be closed for three to six months, starting in March or April next year, to prepare for the transition. The decision is in the design phase, and discussions with government agencies will start in the next two months. The conversion is expected to increase the passenger capacity by 8-9 million, taking care of the requirement for the next three to four years.
Terminal 2 (T2) of the Delhi airport may temporarily be converted into a concourse for short-haul international flights by the end of next year, amid a surge in global travel demand, said senior officials aware of the matter, adding that the terminal may be shut for three to six months starting in March or April next year to prepare for the transition.
T2 will shut only after the revamped T1 is inaugurated, likely in March next year, said officials. “There is an increased demand for the international sector, so we have planned to convert T2 into an international terminal. It will be shut for three to six months to make the necessary arrangements. Two Indian airlines, Air India and IndiGo have placed large aircraft orders,” Videh Jaipuriar, chief executive officer (CEO) of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) said on Friday.
The two airlines will start getting their deliveries soon, which will increase demand, he said.
Jaipuriar added that the decision is in the design phase and DIAL will start consulting various government agencies like the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs in the next two months.
Officials added that T2 is expected to handle short-haul international flights, which is any non-stop flight with a flying time less than three hours. However, a final decision is yet to be taken, said Jaipuriar.
Currently, Delhi has three terminals — T1, T2 and T3 — of which only the latter doubles up and handles international traffic.
“The current international passenger handling capacity at T3, which is about 20 million (per year), will be a constraint in one or two years. We are expecting to reach about 18 million this year. The remaining capacity is likely to be filled in one year. This is because the demand will go up as and when Air India and IndiGo start getting their aircraft deliveries. By converting T2 into an international terminal, we aim to increase the passenger capacity by eight to nine million which will take care of the requirement for the next three to four years,” Jaipuriar said.
Airports periodically assess their capacity based on which a master plan is made every 10 years. Delhi airport’s last master plan was prepared in 2016 and pointed out the need to expand T1 due to rapid growth. T1 had a passenger handling capacity of 17 million and is now set to handle 40 million passengers with the expansion work that will be completed by February 2024 and be operational from March. The new T1 will have additional parking stands and 22 aerobridges among other facilities.
Delhi airport’s maximum traffic before the pandemic was a total of 69.3 million (per year). In the last fiscal, it was 65.3 million and the airport is expected to handle 70.5 million passengers in the current year, surpassing pre-Covid numbers.“International operations are expected to be almost at par with pre-Covid levels whereas domestic operations will be higher than the pandemic,” Jaipuriar said.
The DIAL chief added that T2 will require dedicated zones for customs, and immigration and hence the overall passenger handling capacity of the terminal will reduce from the current 15 million passengers to around eight million. “But if the demand is more, other options are also being discussed... but that is three to four years down the line,” he said.
The Delhi airport inaugurated its fourth runway in July this year. However, after its inauguration, runway 10/28 was shut for refurbishment. Jaipuriar said that for the first time, the airport will operate all four of its runways by mid-December, enhancing its air traffic movements per day to go up from the current 1,500 to over 2,000.