The proposed infrastructure upgrade of the Delhi airport’s domestic terminal (T1) could be delayed, with IndiGo moving the high court on Tuesday against the airport operator’s direction to partially shift its operations to Terminal 2 (T2). Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), the operator, had asked the airline to shift its flights to Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru by January 4. A few other airlines were also issued a similar direction, in view of the T1 expansion plan. In its petition filed before the Delhi High Court, the airline has sought a stay on the shifting order, challenging DIAL’s authority in the matter. “The restrictions sought to be imposed by DIAL could destroy IndiGo’s business, the reputation of which has been built over the past 11 years. DIAL’s directions are completely arbitrary and do not have any nexus with the object sought to be achieved — decongestion,” said the country’s largest passenger airline. IndiGo has also made the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Airports Authority of India (AAI), and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) a party to the case. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. Initially, IndiGo, Spicejet, and GoAir were asked to shift one-third of their flights to T2 by October 29. IndiGo, which operates 306 daily flights, including 86 to Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, had refused to shift, saying the move would lead to a loss of business as October was a peak traffic season, and that shifting would cause inconvenience to passengers. “Maximum number of passengers that can travel to Delhi by IndiGo are from these three sectors. This move will lead to widespread confusion among our passengers,” IndiGo said.
Following this, DIAL had extended the deadline to January 4.GoAir, however, recently announced that it was moving its entire operations to the new terminal. At present, low-cost domestic carriers IndiGo and Spicejet operate from T1, GoAir from T2, and Vistara, AirAsia India, and Air India operate from T3. DIAL officials, however, said IndiGo’s decision to move court would stall development work and can cause inconvenience to IndiGo, too. “This decision will even hamper IndiGo’s prospects of growth. From where will the slots come from? IndiGo is growing at a fast pace, and the terminal needs to have the infrastructure to handle that,” said a DIAL official. According to the master plan of expansion, T1’s area would be increased to 133,000 sqm from 53,000 sqm, enabling it to handle 23 million passengers. Also, 10 aerobridges would be constructed, and the number of boarding gates would be increased from eight to 25. Other low-cost domestic carriers would be shifted to T1 after the expansion. DIAL also plans to construct a terminal 4, in the area where currently T2 is located. T4 would cater to full-service domestic carriers, such as Air India and Jet Airways.