IndiGo’s domestic passengers flying out of Delhi will now need to check whether they need to reach Terminal 1 or Terminal 2, depending on their destination. The Delhi High Court’s division bench on Tuesday upheld the order of the single judge bench directing budget airline IndiGo to move part of its existing operations from Terminal 1 of Delhi International Airport (DIAL) to Terminal 2 and to approach DIAL within a week’s time with its decision on the sectors it decides to operate from the assigned terminal.
Delhi airport operator GMR and InterGlobe-promoted IndiGo have been at loggerheads for nearly a year now over the former’s proposal to move part of the airline’s operations out of the existing terminal.
Three budget airlines — IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir — were asked to vacate the terminal space partially for expansion and upgrading of the airport.
Terminal 1 has already breached its capacity of 20 million and is handling 21 million passengers per year. According to its Master Plan, 2016, in its first phase, DIAL targets upgrade of T1 to handle at least 40 million passengers per annum by 2021. Airport capacity constraint is one of the biggest challenges to the growth of Indian aviation. India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world, but growth in airport capacity is not keeping pace with passenger demand. This shift to Terminal 2 by the three airlines will free up at least 30% space for DIAL to initiate expansion work.
IndiGo, after seeking several extensions from GMR and delaying the move, filed an appeal with the single judge bench of the Delhi High Court in November 2017, calling GMR’s decision “arbitrary and discriminatory”. The single-judge bench directed the airline to move its flights to Terminal 2. IndiGo then appealed to a dual bench in January 2018, which upheld this decision on Tuesday. The Wadia Group-promoted GoAir already operates from Terminal 2 but Ajay Singh-promoted SpiceJet refused to join in, as it wants competitor IndiGo to shift flights with it.
IndiGo wanted the entire Terminal 1 for its combined operations, international and domestic, which was declined by the operator.
IndiGo’s stand is that operating out of three terminals is like operating out of three different airports. “Why in a single city should we be operating as if we are flying out of three different airports?” an official with IndiGo said, adding that it is an issue of inefficiencies and passenger experience for the airline, and this division of capacity complicates operations, escalates costs and confuses fliers.
DIAL v/s IndiGo
The court has also given IndiGo a week’s time to decide upon the sectors it will move from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2. When GMR first proposed the shift of operations, all three airlines were asked to move at least one-third of their existing capacity to the new space or shift operations of three sectors — Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata — to Terminal 2.
The court has given the airline a breather and has asked IndiGo to decide on any 10 sectors, at the most, that amount to one-third capacity and convey its choice to the airport operator in a week’s time. DIAL will evaluate the choices and revert to the airline within the next week. If IndiGo fails to convey the sectors, DIAL will have the right to issue a date and ask the airline to move operations of its Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata flights to Terminal 2.
It is not known immediately if IndiGo will appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court, as it did not respond to FE’s query on the subject.