Delhi builds a 21st century airport ....
India’s capital city now has an airport that befits its status.
When the new terminal three at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport opened in July 2010 in time for the Commonwealth Games, it transformed the hub from mediocre at best to India’s largest and most modern aviation hub and a symbol of pride for the city’s inhabitants.
Delhi now has the capacity to handle over 46 million passengers, with more than 100 million expected to be processed by 2030. T3’s presence is expected to improve international perceptions as 90% of travellers using Delhi International will be whisked in and out via this impressive terminal.
It seems that the T3 is winning hearts and minds. In February 2011, Airport’s Council International ranked Delhi 4th in the category of airports processing 25 to 40 million passengers while in October 2010, T3 picked up the British Construction Industry Award (BCIA) for the Best International Project from a list of 180.
The nine-level passenger terminal includes a 100-room transit hotel but it is probably in the area of retail shopping where the airport has seen its biggest upgrade. For years, prestige brands had stayed away from Indian airport retail because of the less than ideal shopping environments, but T3 • along with certain other airport projects around the country • has begun to change that view.
Delhi Duty Free Services operates the bulk of T3’s retailing. It commands over 4,380 sqm of shopping space at 14 locations in the terminal and, from the outset it introduced a strong offer in the belief that the airport will grow quickly due to India’s pace of economic development.
Among the most original concepts is Uisge Beatha (Gaelic for water of life), a special selection of malt whiskies described as “the ultimate malt experience zone”. Originally launched at Larnaka Airport Duty Free Shops
in Cyprus, the T3 offer is a tasting and learning experience that is proving very popular with passengers. Malt whiskies’ share of premium whisky sales have shot up to 35% at the airport, a reflection of both Indians’ partiality for whisky and their increasing wealth.
A large 730 sqm is allocated to Perfumes & Cosmetics where brands range from Dior, Chanel and D&G to Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne, La Prairie and Sisley with many making first-time appearances at the airport. T3 also has a walk-in humidor for anyone looking for expensive Cuban cigars, but not only; Cigars from Honduras and the Dominican Republic can also be purchased here. Discover India is also handy for a variety of products that India is famous for: teas, Ayurvedic treatments and massage oils, plus a range of souvenirs that are based on Indian craft.
Apart from the DDFS’s stores there are many other boutiques in T3. For familiar high street names try The Body Shop, Mango, Reebok and Italy’s premium fashion label Boggi while more upscale travellers may like to investigate the Versace, Samsonite, or Swarovski boutiques or Kimaya one of India’s exclusive fashion destinations housing more than 140 couture designers. On the accessories and leather goods side the choice is wide: Indian brands include Kala Kantra, a boutique that mixes Cashmere and Pashmina shawls and scarves with fashion jewellery and India’s only multi-brand pen and fine writing instruments retail store chain, William Penn, as well as Hugo Boss, MCM
and Montblanc. Famous Indian teas, and also Indian coffees that you may not have been aware of, can be bought pre-packed along with Indian sweets and savouries from Delhi Delight.
Unfortunately, other interesting Indian producers such as Fab India for ethnic fashion; Hidesign which specialises in luxury leather; pearls and gems retailer Mamanram Srikishan; trendy shoes store Metro; and ethnic womenswear house Satya Paul which sells printed saris which the brand calls “wearable art” can only be found in T1 which has become the low cost domestic terminal at Indira Gandhi International. If you are travelling on a low cost carrier internally, check them out!
Delhi Airport fact file
- Passenger traffic 2009: 26.1 million
- Airlines: More than 60, of which the biggest (by number of routes) are Air India, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, IndiGo, JetLite, SpiceJet, GoAir
- Of note: T3 is the world’s eighth largest passenger terminal (March 2010)
Tax Free Travel Guide to ......
Remember to check your duty free allowances: India Duty Free Allowances