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Delhi Metro's Airport Express line finally opens for public


After a delay of almost five months, Airport Express line of Delhi Metro was finally thrown open to the public this afternoon.


Promising a smooth and comfortable journey to the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport from the heart of Delhi, the 23-km line was opened from 1400 hrs.


"The Airport Express line started commercial operation from 1400 hrs today," a spokesperson for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said.


An inside view of the coaches of Delhi Airport Metro Express train during the trial run, in New Delhi on February 4, 2011. UNI PHOTO
An inside view of the coaches of Delhi Airport Metro Express train during the trial run, in New Delhi on February 4, 2011. UNI PHOTO

The passengers will reach Terminal 3 of the IGI airport in about 18 minutes from New Delhi Railway Station of the line.


Other stations on this corridor are Shivaji Stadium, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi Aero City, Indira Gandhi International Airport and Dwarka Sector 21.


The six-coach trains on the network, meant for international air passengers, will be running at the speed of 105 kmph, almost double the speed on other Metro lines in the capital.


The Airport Line is the first in the country which has been built on public private partnership (PPP) model at a total cost of Rs 5700 crore.


The corridor was supposed to open before the Commonwealth Games but it failed to secure the mandatory safety clearance from the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) in September 2010 and ever since it has missed three deadlines.


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The project was implemented by Reliance Infrastructure, a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG).


DMRC Managing Director E Sreedharan and Reliance Infra Director and CEO Lalit Jalan were among those present at the low-key launch of the commercial operations of the line. The formal inauguration later is expected to be a grand affair.


Reliance Infra said that the project had been completed in a record time of 27 months, much faster than similar projects in other world cities such as New York, London and Sydney.


Besides being the fastest mode of transport from the city to the airport, the Metro will also be one of the cheapest, with the Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEL) announcing an introductory fare of Rs 80 against the regular fare of Rs 150.


"We take pride to have executed and commissioned the country's first Airport Express. With its technology and design, the Airport Express will meet the pressing need for fast, convenient and cost effective mode of travel, that connects the City to Airport T3 terminal. I take this opportunity to congratulate the entire team of DMRC and Reliance Infrastructure , who have executed and commissioned this project within record time The Airport Express is Rinfra’s signature project which will place Delhi in the league of global cities, sporting new world infrastructure," Mr Jalan said.


Eventually, passengers can check-in and get boarding passes for their flights at the New Delhi, Shivaji Stadium and Dhaula Kuan stations. Baggage check-in facilities will be available at New Delhi and Shivaji Stadium stations.


The services will operate at a frequency of 20 minutes. The check-in service is expected to start shortly.


Security on the Airport Express line is managed by around 400 personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel. Other security arrangements include state-of-the-art gadgets, explosive detectors, large X-ray baggage scanners, rapid action teams and dog squads.


The Airport Express trains are imported from CAF, Spain, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trains. The plush interiors with diffused lighting create a soothing ambience. The coaches are spacious, allowing ample space for luggage. Passengers on-board remain well informed with updates on flight information on LCD screens in every coach.


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