New Delhi, August 21 : Union Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel on Thursday inaugurated the country's longest runway at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in Delhi.
The first touchdown on the 2.75-mile-(4.4-kilometer)-long new runway, the third in the row, was made by an Air India Boeing 777 flight.
Various MPs and senior officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation were present at the inaugural ceremony.
The new runway developed by Delhi International Airport private limited under a public private partnership initiative has been completed ahead of its scheduled date of February 2009 and an integrated passenger terminal (T 3) is also being planned.
Patel said that the grand runway is one of the few projects that are in the pipeline to modernize the international airport and upgrade it to world class standards.
"This is not the end of the project, it's only a beginning and many more things will follow. The domestic terminal is likely to be opened by the end of this year and early 2010, we would see terminal T3, which has been explained to you. The size, scope and the grandeur of the majesty of the terminal will all be visible in a year down from now," said Patel.
The new runway that would be thrown open to commercial flights from August 28 is likely to ease the congestion at the international airport.
The air traffic to New Delhi has increased manifolds with low cost airlines mushrooming over the past few years. New Delhi that is hosting the 2010 Commonwealth games is sprucing up infrastructure ahead of the games.