New Delhi Airport – the largest in the country is re-activating its Terminal 2 (T2). GoFirst will shift all its domestic operations to T2 while IndiGo – India’s largest carrier by fleet and domestic market share, will shift part of its operations to T2. Flight numbers in 6E 2000 to 6E 2999 series will arrive and depart from T2 while the rest will continue from T3. Terminal 1 of the airport continues to be closed for all operations and is undergoing an extensive modernisation and expansion program.
As the deadly second wave of COVID-19 grappled the country, air traffic dipped at a very fast pace and saw numbers drop nearly to levels of last May – when air traffic had re-started. To reduce costs, both Mumbai and Delhi had consolidated operations out of a single terminal, after having started the second terminal.
What has changed now?
Air operations have to factor in two things – the space on the ramp for aircraft to be parked and the check-in counters and Security area. The terminal infrastructure comes into focus in current times due to requirements for physical distancing. With international flights picking up slowly, Terminal 3, which is the only terminal to handle international flights at New Delhi, has to dedicate counters for those as well. Domestic flights have also picked up on the back of the second wave subsiding and states undoing requirements like mandatory RT-PCR giving a boost to travel.
On January 10, 2021, Delhi saw highest domestic traffic of 1,00,038 passengers. The air traffic in the country on that day was 2,45,018. The country is yet to get back to the 2 lakh mark but traffic has shown a promising trend upwards.
While Delhi remains the top most airport in the country by both passengers and flights operated, it hasn’t opened Terminal 1 (T1) for operations since the country went into a lockdown in March 2020. T1 is undergoing renovations and capacity expansion – which includes a new pier and contact gates. All boarding gates in T1 were bus gates in the past.
Delhi Airport had started operations from T3 when domestic air service restarted in May 2020. Subsequently with increase in traffic – Terminal 2 (T2) was recommissioned on October 1, 2020. While IndiGo has part of its operations from T2, GoAir saw its entire domestic operations being at T2.
Delhi Airport is in the middle of a major expansion drive – which would include a revamped T1 and converting T3 to all domestic operations when Terminal 4 is built by razing T2. The expansion plan also sees a fourth runway being operational and additional taxiways being built to reduce taxi times and use mixed mode runways efficiently.
Operations at T2 will resume with approximately 200 air traffic movements, divided evenly between departures and arrivals. Around 27 counters run by commercial airlines GoAir and Indigo will be allowed to open to cater to passengers. The former will be operating 11 counters and the latter 17.