First flight lands at showcase Delhi terminal

NEW DELHI — An Air India plane carrying more than 200 passengers from New York became Wednesday the first commercial flight to land at New Delhi’s new, 2.7-billion-dollar airport terminal.

By (AFP)

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Published: Wed 14 Jul 2010, 7:24 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:36 AM

The plane touched down at around 4:40 pm (1110 GMT), the first of eight flights expected over the next two days to test operations at the state-of-the-art facility that was inaugurated on July 3 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Sprawling over four square kilometres (1.5 square miles), the terminal was completed by an Indian-led consortium in just 37 months — a huge achievement in a country where major infrastructure projects regularly run years over schedule.

The sky-lit terminal, one of the world’s largest, “signals the arrival of a new India, committed to joining the ranks of modern industrialised nations,” Singh had said at the inauguration ceremony.

Full-fledged services are expected to commence from July 28.

Built to coincide with Delhi’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in October, the facility boasts over 90 automated walkways and 20,000 square metres of shopping space.

It was built through a public-private partnership headed by south India-based GMR Group — a financial model seen as the most viable for India to execute large infrastructure projects because it eases the burden on scarce government resources.

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