Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi is the main global hub for the Indian capital. It receives flights from the rest of India and right across the world. It also acts as the gateway for much of northern India, including the Taj Mahal at Agra and Pink City of Jaipur. Together, these three cities form the popular golden triangle. However, airports can be confusing places, especially since alongside Mumbai Airport, Indira Gandhi International is one of the busiest in the world. There are shops, restaurants and hotels in New Delhi Airport, as our New Delhi Airport Guide reveals.
Where is New Delhi Airport Located?
First opened in 1962 and named after the country’s first female prime minister, New Delhi Airport is located in the city’s Palam district. Palam lies roughly 16 kilometers southwest of the center of New Delhi. The airport operates three runways, with flights arriving into and departing out of three main terminal buildings. It has won numerous awards over the past few years for its passenger experience. The airport’s international three-letter code is DEL.
New Delhi Airport Terminals
Anyone making use of a New Delhi Airport Guide will probably also want information on its terminals. Terminal 1 of New Delhi Airport was formed from the original British-era Safdarjung Airport. Divided into four sections, only Terminal 1C and the newly constructed Terminal 1D now remain. Domestic arrivals from other destinations in India have exlusive use of Terminal 1C. Meanwhile, domestic low-cost airlines SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir use Terminal 1D.
GoAir and Indigo Airline flights also depart from Terminal 2. Annual hajj flights for pilgrims heading to Mecca in Saudi Arabia tend to use this terminal too.
All other flights operate out of Terminal 3. The lower floor of this eight-hectare building is occupied by the arrival hall. The departure hall is one story up.
How to Connect Between Terminals
A complimentary shuttle bus connects the terminals. It runs every 20 minutes between 7 am and 10 pm. You’ll find directional signage to the buses after each terminal’s baggage checkpoints. You’ll need to show your boarding card at the kiosk, where you’ll receive a coupon that you’ll need to enter the bus. The bus also connects with Aerocity metro station.
Aerocity metro station is an intermediary stop which allows passengers to transfer from the magenta line of the New Delhi Metro from the center of the city to the orange line that serves the airport. Both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 have metro stations on the orange line.
At eight kilometers apart, you can also transfer between these terminals by road. The arrival halls of each terminal have taxi counters. Due to traffic congestion, it can take up to 15 minutes to transfer in this way.
How to Get From the Airport to the Capital
The orange line of the New Delhi metro connects terminals 1 and 3 at one end with New Delhi railway station just north of Connaught Place at the other, allowing you to take advantage of the best things to do in New Delhi. It is sometimes known as the Airport Express Line. Linking the airport with important city locations, it reduces travel time to approximately 25 minutes.
Buses depart from a small bus station opposite the airport’s Centaur Hotel every 30 minutes. They connect the airport with Connaught Place and the Interstate Bus Terminal. From here you can enjoy lots of tours from New Delhi. These include our Breakfast Trail in Old Delhi tour and our Old Delhi Night Food Walk. Further afield, yoga lovers won’t want to miss our 2 Day Yoga and Spirituality Tour in Rishikesh.
Taxis can be found lining up outside the arrival halls. Female passengers are able to take advantage of Sakha Cabs. These taxis are driven by specially-trained women who know self-defense. Cabs also contain a panic button connected to a central control room to alleviate the fear of harassment. There is a large secure multistory car park for anyone arriving to the airport by car.
Accessing New Delhi Airport
The award-winning Indira Gandhi International Airport is both well-organized and well-run. Having read our New Delhi Airport Guide, you should have no trouble getting to or from the airport. For advice on alternative accommodation options, check out our where to stay in New Delhi recommendations. Meanwhile our New Delhi design guide shows you what not to miss in the Indian capital.