Hyderabad International Airport
While it is officially known as Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, this facility is also known as Hyderabad International Airport for the community it serves in central India. Its airport code, HYD, reflects this name as well. The airport currently ranks as the sixth busiest in India for passenger traffic.
The airports official name honors Rajiv Gandhi, former prime minister of India from 1984 to 1989. Rajiv Gandhi had attempted to stay out of the political scene in India despite being a son of Indira Gandhi. He worked as a commercial airline pilot for much of his professional career entering politics in 1980 after the death of several family members.
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is a relatively new facility opening its gates in March 2008. The master plan for the airport includes construction in phases over a number of years. At opening, it had a capacity of about 15 million passengers passing through a single terminal that offers about 20 passenger gates. Ultimate plans for the airport include expanding the terminal to serve up to 40 million passengers each year. The airport currently sees about 8 million people pass through the gates each year.
First phase construction has also included flight control infrastructure including a tower, hangar and maintenance facilities, and administrative office space. All of these types of infrastructure are also planned for expansions as the airport continues to expand and grow over the years.
The cargo terminal at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is also being built in phases. The initial construction provides about 100,000 tons of capacity each year. The cargo terminal is equipped for both airfreight and express and includes a customs station for international cargo. Current cargo carriers at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport provide service to Asia and Europe.
Operations at Hyderabad International Airport
Initially, the airport is using a single runway to handle about 100,000 take offs and landings each year. This runway is about 4,300 meters or 14,000 feet long and equipped with instrument landing systems. Additional runways are planned as part of the airport’s planned phased growth. Ultimately, four runways are contemplated.
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is still very much a work in progress. The facility is in the process of adding its second runway with a second terminal space also planned for the near future. The ultimate timing of all the expansions will likely be determined by the increasing demand at the airport. If passenger, cargo and flight numbers continue to increase, the expansions will continue on a regular basis.
Expansions at the airport also include flight training. The Sabena Flight Academy is part of the second phase expansion and will offer about 200 student pilots opportunities to learn to fly commercial aircraft. The academy plans to utilize flight simulators as well as in flight experience as part of the training.
Even if the airport is not complete, it has won awards for service. In 2009, the first complete year of operations, the airport won an award for environmental performance from the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation. It has also taken top honors for the best airport with a passenger count between 5 and 15 million from the Airports Council International. The airport has also been ranked in the top five for overall service quality by the Airports Council International.