CW traces the remarkable, decade-long journey of Delhi Airport, the world's No. 1 airport.
In 10 eventful years, from 2006 to 2016, Delhi Airport has gone on to become the gateway to modern India in terms of international destinations, passenger traffic and cargo volume. The journey of the airport, officially named Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) and developed, operated and managed by a GMR-led consortium, has been remarkable and a PPP success story. I Prabhakara Rao, CEO, Delhi International Airport (Pvt) Ltd (DIAL), says, 'The concession agreement had defined critical milestones to be achieved, the most important being the commissioning of an integrated terminal building in time for the Commonwealth Games 2010.'
This was easier said than done in 2006, when DIAL took over operations with a manual baggage screening process, limited seating capacity at Terminal 1B and a limited number of passenger boarding bridges, etc. However, after enhancements in airside, terminal and landside infrastructure and the commissioning of Terminal 3 (T3), the transformation was complete. In fact, T3, the world's eighth largest terminal building, was built in a record of 37 months.
After T3, the focus has been on enhancing operational efficiency along with the development of the cargo business and Aerocity. Major milestones include:
September 2008: Commissioning the third runway that can handle A 380, easing congestion and increasing capacity.
April 2009: Commissioning the new domestic terminal, T1 D, to decongest traffic and increase overall service quality.
July 2010: Commissioning operations of T3.
'Innovation has been a key thread in ensuring sustained focus on core airport operations, while focusing on being the best in the world in passenger service,' says Rao. Developed in-house, innovative technologies and processes include the operations and control centre; collaborative decision-making; self-service initiatives; flap gates in Terminal 1D; and the commissioning of a solar power plant, a first for an Indian airport.
In line with the Digital India vision, DIAL supports the air cargo business. Rao shares, 'The DIAL cargo app benefits the entire air trade system where you can transact complete business functionalities, such as tracking consignment, paying terminal charges, issuing delivery and carting orders, in a paperless manner.'
Delhi Airport is committed to conduct business in an environment-friendly and sustainable manner, with necessary pollution control systems and safeguards. Key measures include use of renewable energy; advanced prevention pollution infrastructure; water conservation and rainwater harvesting; provision for eco-friendly vehicles; greenhouse gas emission reduction and carbon neutral programmes; efficient waste management; and effective aircraft noise management. Additionally, regular Knowledge Sharing, Skills and Attitude (KSSA) sessions on developments in the environment are conducted with employees and stakeholders.
Indoor air quality
'Air quality is regularly monitored by various authorities, and we have been working towards reducing environmental impacts,' says Rao. Key initiatives to improve air quality and reduce emissions include the use of bridge-mounted equipment and compressed natural gas; fuel hydrant systems to avoid fuel spills and vehicular emissions; and multimodal connectivity. Such features have resulted in the reduction of per pax emission by over 15 per cent in the past three years. Currently, Delhi Airport is certified at 'Optimisation Level' under the ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation Programme.
Initiatives taken to sustain water resources include:
Management of water resources by conservation, augmentation, protection from pollution and safe distribution.
Rainwater harvesting structures (~300 pits) have been installed across the airport. Seven-MLD water treatment plant at the airside.
Advanced 10-MLD sewage treatment plant (STP); treated water is used for HVAC, flushing and horticulture.
The objective is to ensure an effective waste management system for collection, segregation, storage and safe disposal of waste and comply with all regulatory requirements. Waste such as municipal solid waste, hazardous waste, e-waste, construction and demolition waste is handled and disposed as per existing norms. DIAL regularly checks to ensure these standards are maintained.
Adhering to UN norms, Delhi Airport plans to enhance total renewable energy generation capacity to ~20 MW by 2020. Currently, the energy generated from the solar plant contributes to about 9 per cent of total electricity consumption. Rao says, 'Various energy conservation measures have been undertaken during the construction of T3.'An integrated building management system is installed at T3 and skilled professionals have helped optimise the energy load.
Delhi Airport is certified for Environment Management System (ISO 14001:2004) and Energy Management System (ISO 50001:2011), the first airport in the world to receive this certification, and has won numerous accolades for its environmental sustainability initiatives. Moreover, T3 is the first terminal building worldwide to have received the LEED-NC (new construction) Gold accreditation for its green footprint spread across ~5.5 lakh sq m.
The flight path to success hasn't been without turbulence. DIAL faced a number of challenges after taking over operations, such as providing a 'world-class' airport in an extremely tight timeline; capacity enhancement with minimum interruption to existing operations; making IGIA encroachment-free (nearly 1,000 families were residing on the premises for over five decades); relocation of city sewerage to avoid drainage into the runway; and the need for manpower on site for execution.
However, extensive stakeholder management played a critical role in receiving the necessary approvals from 58 different government agencies and departments. Additionally, a 3M approach ensured adequate focus on project delivery. Material was sourced from 20 countries; fabrication yards were set up at site; and there was direct involvement in procurement and logistics to mitigate sourcing-related risks.
The hard work has paid off. 'Our efforts towards providing a seamless passenger experience has ensured that Delhi Airport's ranking in airport service quality has improved from being among the worst airports globally in 2007 to being ranked the world's best airport (25-40 mppa) for two consecutive years (2014 and 2015),' says Rao with pride.
In 2015, DIAL undertook a review of the master plan for the development of Delhi Airport to update the initial 2006 plan. The revised master plan has proposed the development of a fourth runway and other airside infrastructure development; Terminal 1 expansion; development of Terminal 4; and enhanced road access and APM connection from T1 to T3/T4. These enhancement projects will be undertaken based upon traffic triggers.
This journey of success is clearly far from over!
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