Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport is the busiest airport in India and twelfth busiest globally. It has three passenger terminals and three runways handling more than 69 million passengers last year.
As a part of the Delhi Airport master plan, Terminal 1 is currently being expanded and will be ready by 2022. Around the same time, a fourth runway will also be operational. Terminal 2 will be demolished in 2024 and a new Terminal 4 will open up in its place in two stages by 2028.
The driving distance between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 is 7.6 km. Currently, if you want to transfer from one terminal to another you have to take a cab or an airport shuttle which runs every 20 minutes. It isn’t convenient. This will change once an Automated People Mover (APM) is commissioned at Delhi airport.
APM a-la AirTrain or SkyTrain are common at airports having multiple terminals like New York JFK, Singapore, San Francisco, Dallas Fort Worth and so-on. They are very convenient for inter-terminal transfer.
Delhi, and to some extent Mumbai are the only two airports in India that can support a people mover. Now, Delhi will be the first airport in India to get an APM. They first envisaged the need for an APM in 2016 and had plans to make it operational by 2020. But the project got delayed due to a rethink in strategy.
A 5.1km-long AirTrain is being planned at Delhi airport. It will have four stations — T1, Aerocity, Cargo terminal and a common terminal for T3 and T2/4. The AirTrain will be underground between T1 and Aerocity and will be elevated for most of the route.
It will take 3-4 years for the AirTrain to be commissioned but no finalised dates have been confirmed. Expect it to be ready by 2022-23, around the same time when the expansion of T1 will be completed. No APM provider has been finalised as talks have been going on with several European and Japanese companies. As construction of the AirTrain is costly, so Delhi airport is scouting for low-cost financing for the project.
[Editor’s take: Much needed. Travelling from the Airport to the Aerocity was over INR 200 otherwise!]
What do you make of the move to add an AirTrain at Delhi Airport? Will it make your Delhi Airport Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 commute better?