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No New Slots For Flights From Delhi Airport's T1 For Next 3 Years

Prabhakara Rao said that even if airlines at Delhi Airport move some of their flights to the refurbished terminal, there will be no additional slots

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New Delhi, Oct 28 (PTI) Airlines will not be able to start additional flights from terminal 1 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport for the next three years, the Delhi airport operator said. The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) is locked in a face-off with SpiceJet and IndiGo, that have refused to shift a third of their flights from terminal 1 (T1) to terminal 2 (T2) to allow expansion work at the existing terminal. The revamped T2 will open from Saturday after seven years and GoAir is the only airline that has agreed to shift its entire operations from T1.

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"I am very clear I will not give any new slots for next three years for T1," DIAL CEO I Prabhakara Rao told reporters. He said that even if airlines move some of their flights to the refurbished terminal, there will be no additional slots. Rao explained that the space vacated by airlines was needed to carry out expansion work at T1 and, therefore, it was not possible to accommodate new flights. "One-third (flights) I am moving only to facilitate expansion work while we are operating (flights simultaneously)," Rao said.

T1 has a capacity to handle 20 million passengers a year, which will be increased to 40 million passengers per year, according to DIAL's master plan. The renovated T2 can handle 12 million passengers per annum, up from its earlier capacity of 9 million. It can accommodate 2,500 passengers per hour. IndiGo has argued that shifting some of its flights will pose operational challenges for the airline as well as inconvenience passengers.

Referring to the reluctance on the part of airlines to relocate to T2, the DIAL CEO said everyone has to "share the pain"."We are all for aviation growth. We all look at the passenger's convenience. Yes we have to share the pain. There is no question of 'best solution'. The best solution is everyone can sit here in one terminal but is it possible?" Rao said. He remarked that while he was in favour of a "consultative approach", the usage of an airport is "the operator's prerogative".

The deadline for shifting one-third of their operations has been extended for IndiGo and SpiceJet from October 29 to January 4. Rao told reporters that he was open to all options to resolve the stalemate. International flights used to operate from T2 before the commissioning of the existing swanky T3. Flights ceased to operate from T2 in 2010. However, Haj flights have been operating for a few months every year.

T2 will have total 27 parking bays for flights. Unlike T1, which has no aircraft contact gates or aerobridges, T2 has six of them. This is in addition to six bus gates. There are 80 check-in counters, including eight for passengers with restricted mobility. With GoAir shifting to T2, the terminal will be handling 47 departures a day. It will also see nearly 12,000 passengers per day in total.