DIAL FOR CHANGE
A joint venture consortium of Group, AAI, Fraport AG & Malaysia Airport Holding Board, Delhi International Airport (P) Limited was awarded the concession to operate, manage & develop the Airport following an International Competitive Bidding process in 2006. signed an Operations, Management & Development Agreement with the AAI on 4 April 2006 and embarked upon its journey of airport modernisation.
at the helm of operations, I Prabhakara Rao, sits in the New Udaan Bhavan, his office dotted with trophies and citations (over 30 in he says) has won in the last couple of years.
With over 27 years of experience under his belt, Rao has done stints at Durgapur Steel Plant, Usha Fans, Lakshmi Automatic Loom Works, Regency Ceramics and Prudhvi Industries before he joined
In 2006, Rao entered the world of aviation with The mandate: modernisation of the existing terminal and the construction of a new one with over 5 lakh sq metres and world class specifications, finishes and specialist airport equipment. And all of it to be accomplished by March 2010 i.e. ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Construction at this pace is unprecedented not just in this country but the world over.
then proceeded to not only build Asia’s longest runway, compatible for landing wide bodied aircras, but also took up the challenge to construct Terminal 3 in 37 months.
Leading global airport experts claim that to be an impossible task. “However, we proved them all wrong. We did it with meticulous planning and attention to micro details,” says Rao. Coordinating with almost 60 government departments wasn’t easy, he adds with a smile.
With a masterplan in place, more than 30,000 workers toiled for over 18 months to modernise and build. The runway that was to be completed by 2009 was ready for use in August 2008. In 2006 it was a forested area filled with sewage water. In fact, when they began clearing the forest, they even found an abandoned plane!
When they decided to modernise what is today Terminal 1D, they realised the existing structures of Terminal 1 were not strong enough to be modernised, hence, decided to build a new terminal, T-1D. What they accomplished, besides the numerous international awards received along the way, includes – 15 km of highway; a 5.5 million sq building, 80,000 drawings detailing various aspects of the master plan, a 4.4 km, 75 m wide runway, a fully automated baggage operating system that is closely monitored via CCTV, rain water harvesting and water conservation process to cut usage to a fih of what is required in proportion to its size, and of course millions of satisfied passengers.
So how do they manage all of it? Focus, determination, micro planning, thinking ahead and being ready to meet the demand – in this case passenger traffic – even before need arises, understanding and working with the existing systems, optimally, answers Rao.
From an airport that had the capacity of 12 mppa in 2006, when the actual traffic was already at 16 mppa and with the rating it the lowest on its list, the Delhi airport today has a capacity of over 60 mppa, against the demand of 36 -37 mppa and has been rated number 2 by in the category of 25-40 mppa airports worldwide.
In subsequent stages, the airport will be developed to have more terminals and runways in a modular manner, and to form a U shaped complex with an ultimate design capacity of 100 mppa.
Today, 1,480 employees work at handling 36 million passengers and three runways. Passengers have the freedom to roam around and have lots to help them pass their time pleasurably — a transit hotel, Wi-Fi connectivity, multi-level parking, lounges, international duty free shopping, F&B outlets, shopping, you name it and they have it.