vivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 514 posts, RR: 3 Posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 17149 times:
Namaste Delhi – The Terminal 3 Experience
Delhi’s much awaited Terminal 3 opened for International operations from 14th July 2010. T-3 as it is popularly known as was expected to be a game changer as far as Indian aviation is concerned.
Traditionally, domestic and international flights in India always operated out of separate terminals. These terminals were usually located next to each other, but in case of major hubs like DEL and BOM, they were located miles apart – and on opposite sides of the airport. Connections and transfers used to be a nightmare. Passengers had to deplane from their inbound aircraft, complete formalities, and then board a bus to the connecting aircraft, which was parked at a terminal situated miles away. No wonder then that neither BOM nor DEL could become real hubs for airlines like Air India or Jet Airways which have sizeable International as well as Domestic operations.
T-3 was going to change all that. It was planned to be a jumbo sized “Integrated Terminal” with domestic and international operations under the same roof. This was essential if you wanted to make transfers and connections seamless for passengers.
Bangalore based GMR group along with their partners Fraport & Malaysia Airports built DEL Terminal 3. It is currently the eighth largest airport terminal in the world with a capacity of handling 34 million passengers annually. Barring a few hiccups here and there, the construction of the terminal was completed pretty much on schedule. However, last minute problems such as lack of a dedicated high capacity power line prevented domestic operations from starting from T-3. Currently the terminal only handles international operations with domestic operations scheduled to start in late October 2010.
Here are a couple of illustrations of T-3 from the DIAL website.
Welcome to a slightly different Trip Report on the Delhi Terminal 3 experience. This time, I am going to focus mainly on the experience of arriving and departing from T-3 from a passenger perspective rather than the flight itself.
THE ARRIVAL EXPERIENCE
Air India operates its flight – AI 348/349 on the BOM-DEL-PVG route. This flight is operated by AI’s A330-200 and originates in BOM. It has a stopover at DEL before heading to PVG. One can buy tickets on the domestic BOM-DEL leg. Considering only international flights were operating from T-3 currently, this flight was my only option (without leaving India) of experiencing the new terminal. So, I booked myself on AI 348 and AI 349 on the BOM-DEL and DEL-BOM sectors respectively.
Airline: Air India
Flight: AI 348
Aircraft: Airbus A330-223
Scheduled Departure: 0750 Actual Departure: 0815
Scheduled Arrival: 0955 Actual Arrival: 1020
Our departure out of BOM was delayed by 25 minutes because we missed our pushback slot. The flight was 100% full in Y class with a majority of the passengers getting off at DEL. The AI A330-200s are leased from Novair, and have a dense seating configuration. The toilets are situated below the main deck. Here are a few photos from the flight:
We landed on Runway 29, and I could see that it was sunny outside. Delhi had been experiencing heavy rains for the past couple of weeks, and this clear weather was a welcome change. We docked at an aerobridge at one of the green coloured contact stands.
T-3 has four differently coloured stands. Yellow & Orange coloured ones are for domestic operations whereas Green & Red coloured ones are for international operations.
Right next to us was another AI A330, VT-IWB which had arrived from JED.
At first glance, the terminal appeared massive. Its piers seemed to stretch for at least a mile on each side.
It took atleast 15 minutes for me to deplane, considering the large number of passengers getting off at DEL.
A view of our plane from the aerobridge.
View back towards the aerobridge.
There was a boarding pass check at the entry/exit point of the gate, to ensure that everyone who had deplaned was indeed a DEL bound passenger. This check caused a longish queue to form.
Once my boarding pass was scanned, I entered the arrival section of the pier. This is one long section and looks like a daunting task to walk. Thanks to the travelators, you can cover this distance with minimum efforts.
The entire pier floor has a brown coloured carpet, which reminded me of Changi Terminal 3. The views from the glass walls are fantastic.
The toilets at T-3 have a very interesting theme. Each toilet (Men & Women) depicts a man and a woman in traditional Indian attire from various regions of the country. I think this is a pretty cool idea.
After travelling a distance of a couple hundred metres, you arrive at the intersection of the two International piers.
This leads to the escalators that take you down to the main Arrivals area.
A view of the famous Mudras from the escalators.
The Immigration counters are directly below the Mudra sculptures. For passengers arriving on a domestic leg of an international flight, there is a separate area that bypasses the Immigration counters, and takes you directly to the arrival Duty Free zone.
Here, your boarding pass is inspected once again and stamped “Domestic Cleared” by Delhi Immigration. The arrival Duty Free at T-3 is huge, and filled with the usual duty free stuff.
FIDS showing Arrival Information
Once you pass through the Duty Free zone, you arrive at the Baggage Reclaim area. T-3 has a total of 14 baggage belts, out of which six are for domestic operations; three are for mixed use – meaning they can be used for domestic or international operations as per need, and five for international operations.
Out of these, Belts no. 13 & 14 are high capacity belts suitable for Code F aircraft like the A380.
Some pictures of the Baggage Reclaim
Beyond the baggage reclaim is the Arrival hall, and then the customs declaration area just before the Exit.
Once you exit the sterile customs area, you walk into a Meet & Greet area where visitors who buy an entry ticket can meet arriving passengers. The entry ticket for visitors costs INR 80 (approx 2 USD)
The area is air-conditioned and has a variety of food and drink options.
Finally, you reach the main exit of the terminal.
Right ahead of you are dedicated lanes for the airport taxis and the normal black & yellow Delhi taxis. There is also a bus that takes you to the main Airport Bus Station situated a mile or so ahead. From here, you can transfer into a bus that takes you to your destination in Delhi.
The Airport Express Metro line is currently undergoing finishing touches. This will be a high speed train service between DEL Terminal 3 (actually Dwarka Sector 21) and the New Delhi Railway Station.
Once operational, the journey from DEL airport to the New Delhi station is expected to take 20 minutes. The Airport Express line is expected to open by the end of September 2010.
So, this is the experience of arriving into Delhi’s Terminal 3. Now lets move on to Departures.
THE DEPARTURE EXPERIENCE
Here are a few pictures of the departure level of Terminal 3 that I had clicked earlier during the day.
The grey building in the background is the multi-level car parking. This is connected to T-3 by a skywalk.
A view of one of the piers
One of the drawbacks of AI 349 to BOM is its horrible departure time from DEL. It leaves at an unearthly time of 0335 hours. However, I had no other choice as this was currently the only domestic flight to BOM leaving from T-3.
Sector: DEL- BOM
Airline: Air India
Flight: AI 349
Aircraft: Airbus A330-223
Scheduled Departure: 0335 Actual Departure: 0420
Scheduled Arrival: 0540 Actual Arrival: 0620
Such odd timings meant that I reached the airport midnight, giving me plenty of time to explore the terminal.
The drop off area
As is the case with all Indian airports, a massive crowd of people had come to drop off their loved ones.
FIDS showing Check-In Information
On entering the terminal, you come across a large spacious check-in hall. There are a total of 7 check-in islands with 14 rows of counters.
Air India was assigned Check-in island G
The Domestic Departures area, which was not operational yet.
The International Departures area. Beyond the glass partitions are the Immigration counters.
The huge crowds at the Lufthansa counter.
Just ahead of Immigration is Security. Once you clear these formalities, you enter the Duty Free area.
Pretty good selection of Duty Free stuff
One level up from here are the lounges and food court.
Traditional Indian design on the walls.
FIDS showing Boarding Information
Currently, the dedicated airline and alliance lounges are not open, and shared lounges are being used.
A view of the food court.
The famous Delhi Daredevils Sports Bar
This is the end of the main terminal building and the intersection of the two International piers.
View towards one of the two International piers
Themed toilets. Just love these!
Gate 1-A is one of four gates with provision for secondary security screening and an enclosed security hold. These are used for US bound non-stop flights.
FIDS showing Departure Information
View towards the other International pier
Arguably the most popular attraction in T-3.
Travellators to take you to your gate.
Gate 20B assigned for our flight today
Once boarding is announced, you have to walk down through a ramp to the aerobridge one level below.
Delhi’s T-3 is a fantastic passenger terminal as you can see from the pictures. It has a combination of aesthetics and functionality, modern architecture and traditional Indian design.
Hats off to DIAL and GMR for building a fantastic facility which will go a long way in making DEL a proper hub for India’s airlines. I am eagerly looking forward to the domestic operations moving to T-3. Once this is done, we will be able to see the true benefits of having an integrated mega terminal.
Hope you enjoyed reading the report and viewing the pictures. I am sure you have a fair idea now of what to expect on your next trip to DEL!
ojas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2785 posts, RR: 23 Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 16455 times:
Hi Vivek excellent TR of T3!
A swanky new world class terminal
Quoting vivekman2006 (Thread starter): he toilets at T-3 have a very interesting theme. Each toilet (Men & Women) depicts a man and a woman in traditional Indian attire from various regions of the country. I think this is a pretty cool idea.
True, I was impressed by it as well.
Quoting vivekman2006 (Thread starter): One of the drawbacks of AI 349 to BOM is its horrible departure time from DEL. It leaves at an unearthly time of 0335 hours. However, I had no other choice as this was currently the only domestic flight to BOM leaving from T-3.
Yes and from winters you have almost 22 weekly flights of similar fashion with aircrafts like A321, A332, B77W and maybe the B744 if deployed to JED.
Quoting vivekman2006 (Thread starter): Gate 1-A is one of four gates with provision for secondary security screening and an enclosed security hold. These are used for US bound non-stop flights.
Sorry to nitpick but the entire gate number 1 including 1A, 1B is enclosed. Similar gates 3 (3A, 3B), 24 (24A, 24B), 26 (26A, 26B) are enclosed. Gate 1 is for CO; Gate 3 is for AA and gates 24, 26 is for AI. AI uses gate 26 for JFK as gate 24 still had some unfinished work. From October end gate 24, 26 will be for AI's ORD and JFK flights.
As you know that every gate at DEL has been split into A and B and depending on the size of the aircraft (to be specific the codes like Code C, Code E code F) they use the entire gate for one flight or use A, B for separate flights.
BTW how was the catering and crew on AI?
Thanks for sharing your T3 experience.
A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
reifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1135 posts, RR: 1 Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 16075 times:
Very interesting, T3 looks great and I think I could spend all day there. Now, that's what I call a nice Terminal... Will the old terminals till be in use once the domestic flights will have switched as well to T3?
9MMAR From Malaysia, joined Jul 2006, 2099 posts, RR: 21 Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 14812 times:
Outstanding review of what travelers can expect upon arrival and departure at DEL's spanking new T3. Now this one is definitely going to change the long standing stigma and negative perceptions about Indian airports once and for all. I see a lot of elements from other airports as well - the carpet is so Changi T3, the landside glass wall and airside windows are so KLIA while the ramps that lead to the aerobridges one floor below is so Suvarnabhumi.
vivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 514 posts, RR: 3 Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 14045 times:
Quoting fortunerunnner (Reply 1): Great report and fantastic pictures. Though I have seem hundreds of these by now, I still can't get enough of them .
Quoting ojas (Reply 2): Hi Vivek excellent TR of T3!
A swanky new world class terminal
Haha yes! Swanky and world-class indeed.
Quoting ojas (Reply 2): Similar gates 3 (3A, 3B), 24 (24A, 24B), 26 (26A, 26B) are enclosed. Gate 1 is for CO; Gate 3 is for AA and gates 24, 26 is for AI. AI uses gate 26 for JFK as gate 24 still had some unfinished work. From October end gate 24, 26 will be for AI's ORD and JFK flights.
Thanks for this info, Ojas!
Quoting reifel (Reply 3): Very interesting, T3 looks great and I think I could spend all day there.
Thanks! Yes, one can easily spend hours at T3.
Quoting reifel (Reply 3): Will the old terminals till be in use once the domestic flights will have switched as well to T3?
The old international terminal T2 is not being used currently. Once the domestic operations (full service carriers i.e. Air India, Jet Airways, Kingfisher) shift to T3, the existing domestic terminal 1-D will be used as a LCC terminal. Terminal 1-A will not be used anymore.
Quoting AwysBSB (Reply 4): vivekman2006,
Congratulations for this report! You were fairly meticulous and it was the first time I saw detailed images of DEL T3.
Thanks so much!
Quoting AwysBSB (Reply 4): I wonder what is the use of that road close to the pier in this picture:
I think it is a service road leading to the terminal.
Quoting egyptair269 (Reply 5): Wow, DEL Terminal 3 is breathtaking! Those pictures are eye candy, can't stop looking at them!
Quoting 777ORD (Reply 6): very interesting trip! Definitely a beautiful terminal. Guess that just makes my desires to visit India that much more convincing!
Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 8): Outstanding review of what travelers can expect upon arrival and departure at DEL's spanking new T3. Now this one is definitely going to change the long standing stigma and negative perceptions about Indian airports once and for all.
Thanks 9M-MAR. Yes, it is a path-breaking development and a benchmark for upcoming airports.
Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 9): Thanks for your report of T3. I get to head back to Delhi soon and am hoping it is finally done. I want to also take the train to town - and do an international-domestic transfer.
From what I heard, domestic ops are planned to shift to T3 around October 30th.
Quoting karan69 (Reply 10): Thanks for the report Vivel , seems your last minute plane worked out well indeed
Yes indeed! Looks like I need to plan all my future trips at the last minute. LOL!