Friday, July 16, 2010
File:T3 concourse day.jpg
An Air India Boeing 777 from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport was the first international flight to land at Delhi’s new Terminal 3 at Indira Gandhi International Airport.
However, this was only one of nine “terminal process proving flights” that landed or departed from the brand-new steel and glass T3 on either Wednesday or Thursday. Seven of the proving flights departed or arrived on Wednesday and two on Thursday. The new terminal was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 3. Terminal 3 is designed to handle large international aircraft like the Airbus A380, which landed as one of the terminal process proving flights on Thursday.
Though Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which operates the airport, had planned earlier to commission the new terminal for international operations on Wednesday, the commissioning was pushed to July 28 due to unfinished construction.
However, the proving flights proceeded as planned, and DIAL, with 450 employees from 13 airlines, conducted a full trial of all operations on Tuesday.
In addition to the Air India arrival from New York, United States, the first departure in the new Terminal was a Jet Airways international flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. The first domestic flight that departed from T3 was an Air India flight from Jaipur, Rajasthan.
On Tuesday, before the Air India 777 was slated to arrive, an official from that airline said that “All the 220 passengers and 18 crew members of the New York flight (AI-102) would clear their immigrations at the new terminal. It is going to be a real test for all the agencies at T3.” DIAL also stated that “passengers traveling by these nine flights (July 14 and July 15) are being informed individually by their respective airlines. Flight information is also being displayed on standees at terminal 2. The information about flights arriving and departing from Terminal 3 will also be displayed prominently at various points on the eight lane road from Hotel Radisson to Terminal 3.”
The terminal process proving flights aimed to make sure that everything, including airlines, air traffic control, ground handling agencies, duty free shops, flight caterers, aviation oil companies, customs, and immigration, are all in working order.