The national capital's IGI Airport (IGIA) is set to enhance its airside capacity to bring in more flights and reduce delays on account of congestion.
As part of a project with Airports Authority of India (AAI) and UK-based consultancy NATS, the airport will launch a plan from spring 2019 to increase its flight-handling capacity.
The airside enhancement comes as the ever-growing traffic of air passengers touched the 7 crore mark in 2018 and to support such a massive footfall, flight movements have already reached over 1,300 per day.
The total flight movement is the sum of take-offs and landings per day.
A senior official of the GMR Group-led Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), which maintains and operates the IGIA, told IANS that airside capacity will be increased between spring 2019 and the end of winter 2020.
"We are collaborating with Airports Authority of India and (UK-based consultant) NATS to provide holistic training to the ATCOs (air traffic controllers) and to implement procedural enhancements, which should support some additional capacity in the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2020," the DIAL official said.
"Exact numbers will be determined based on the improvements realised over time, in line with the milestones achieved."
Accordingly, the expansion plan commences from spring 2019, as the airport gradually deploys better-trained ATCOs and operationalises new airside infrastructure such as the new ATC building.
A NATS spokesperson said: "Since August DIAL, AAI and NATS have been working collaboratively on a number of activities to grow capacity of Delhi Airport. That work is proceeding well across a range of activities that will improve both the level of capacity and the operational resilience.
"The activities cover a range of things from air traffic controller training, to changes of air traffic procedures, through to the design of the airfield and airspace infrastructure."
As per the plan, sophisticated modelling tools are being used to determine hourly arrival and departure rates while minimising overhead holding delays. This will aid in training the ATCOs.
Besides, more additional parking stands are currently under construction to support further rise in traffic.
"This is a complex project with many variables - including AAI's transition to the new ATC facility - but the target is to achieve 1,500 daily air traffic movements, which equates to a peak of 85 movements per hour, or a 15 per cent increase in current activity," the NATS spokesperson said.
"The gains from this collaborative activity are expected to accrue in an incremental fashion over a period of 18 months."