Congestion at IGI Airport to ease by June-end: DIAL

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New Delhi, May 12 (UNI) Passengers have to suffer for some more weeks as congestion at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here is likely to ease only by June end.

''By June-end, there should be significant improvement with new infrastructure, including a terminal and parking places, coming up,'' the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) said at a meeting convened by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today.

Giving a presentation of the works undertaken by DIAL, its Managing Director Kiran Kumar Grandhi said more steps would be taken in the next six months to solve the problem of congestion by winter.

''They informed us about the steps being taken to ease congestion.... They said such things happen during expansion of the exisiting airports,'' Dr Ahluwalia told reporters after the hour-long meeting.

Responding to DIAL's demand for manpower support for security and immigration as it was handling 24 million passengers annually against the capacity of 12 million, Dr Ahluwalia said the Government had to look into these areas.

''We will report back to the government,'' he said.

Giving details of the steps taken, Mr Grandhi said DIAL was making several improvements, including commissioning the third runway by August, six months ahead of schedule.

He said the international terminal (Terminal-2) would be refurbished by July and the new domestic terminal completed by November this year, with hi-tech equipment and systems, including six inlane baggage check system, put in place.

The new baggage system will replace the existing manual x-ray machines that often lead to overcrowding.

The Haj Terminal, he said, would be upgraded by October, soon after which the Haj operations would begin.

''After Haj, we will use the terminal for international operations from January 2009,'' he added.

He said the new Terminal-3, which would be an integrated terminal with a handling capacity of 34 million passengers, would be set up only by 2010.

The number of immigration counters would be increased from 28 to 56 and check-in counters from 78 to 100.

''New parking lots and entry and exit points for vehicles are also being constructed,'' he added.

UNI YJ PDT BD1856

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