The ministry of civil aviation (MOCA) has given IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir time till July 15 to decide the date for shifting to Delhi airport’s Terminal 2 from Terminal 1, which is operating beyond its capacity.
In a strongly worded letter, the ministry told the three low-cost airlines if they do not come up with a date within a month, they will be ‘forced’ to shift out.
“As a final opportunity, the airlines operating from T1 shall discuss the issue among themselves in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable situation in a month, by July 15, 2017. In case there is no consensus by July 15, the airport operator shall be free to decide the suitable course of action, which shall be binding on these airlines,” said SV Ramana, under secretary in MOCA, in the letter to the airlines.
Delhi has two operational terminals – T1 and T3. Though the capacity of T1 is 20 million passengers, it handles 24 million passengers annually. Seven-year-old T3 is getting congested due to an increase in the number of flights.
The ministry wants T2 to become operational by October when the winter schedule starts so that T1 can be taken up for expansion. “In any case, T2 should be operational before the commencement of winter schedule 2017,” the letter said.
T2 was renovated in early 2016 to accommodate at least two of the three low-cost airlines operating from T1. However, the airlines refused to move out fearing a rise in the operational cost.
T2 was earlier used for international flights before T3 was commissioned in 2010. It had been lying abandoned since then and used for Haj once a year.
The airlines were given the option to shift some flights to T2, including the ones they would introduce in the future. The deadlock continued, which the civil aviation minister earlier said was ‘undesirable’ as it caused inconvenience to passengers.
T1 and T3 – can together handle 62 million passengers per annum. In 2016, 55.6 million used these terminals and the number is likely to go beyond their capacity this year. The number of flights per day increased to 1185 in 2016 from 1050 average flight movements in a day in 2015.
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