Preparations are underway for the inauguration of the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, or Terminal 3 - one of the most exciting and potentially transformative projects undertaken by the Awami League-led governments across three electoral cycles.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the first phase of the project on October 7.
However, the full utilisation of the terminal by passengers is expected at the end of 2024. This is due to the necessary calibration and preparation of the equipment used in terminal operations, which is projected to take up most of 2024.
The chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), Air Vice Marshal Mafidur Rahman,confirmed to UNB that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will officially open the terminal with the usual fanfare associated with the inauguration of megaprojects under the present dispensation, on October 7.
“The preparation for the inauguration is in its final stages. Structure of the terminal is ready, and now equipment is being installed,” said AVM Mofidur.
He further stated that airlines will be able to use the new parking apron and taxiway . The old terminal's apron can accommodate 29 aircraft, but after the soft opening, the third terminal's apron will be able to accommodate an additional 8 to 10 aircraft.
What sets Terminal 3 apart
The CAAB chairman said 37 aircraft can be parked at a time once the terminal – with an area of 5,42,000 square meters – is fully opened.
There will be 26 boarding bridges. Of these, 12 boarding bridges will be opened in October. There will be a total of 115 check-in counters (including 15 self-service check-in counters) for exits, according to CAAB.
In addition, there will be 10 self-service passport control counters for immigration, along with 66 external immigration counters. For arriving passengers, there will be 5 self-service check-in counters, making a total of 59 counters.
Currently, the existing terminal has 8 baggage belts, while the Third Terminal will have 16 baggage belts for arriving passengers. There will be separate belts for oversized luggage.
The chairman mentioned that a multilevel car parking building with 1,350 parking spaces will be constructed for car parking at Terminal 3.
Below the new terminal, there will be a baggage handling system, and on the second floor, there will be an arrival lounge, a cantina, and boarding bridges, according to CAAB. Additionally, there will be a Duty-Free shop and an arrival lounge nearby.
The total area of the third terminal building is going to be 230,000 square metres, with a capacity of handling 12 million passengers annually.
The baggage handling area is 54,000 square metres, and the fire-fighting station with equipment covers 4,000 square metres. The import cargo terminal is 27,000 square metres, and the export cargo terminal is 36,000 square metres. The connecting taxiway is 66,500 square metres.
There are two rapid exit taxiways, covering 41,500 square metres. Furthermore, the airport will have associated road connections, an elevated expressway, and the necessary equipment (automated warehouses) for passenger and cargo handling. All these activities are currently underway.
Additionally, there will be a hall and six channels for customs for passengers arriving from other countries. VIP services have been arranged for VIP passengers.
In the southern part of the Third Terminal, there is a 3,650-square-metre area dedicated to VIP and VIP passenger services.
A large lounge has been constructed for transit passengers in the new terminal. It will serve 40,00,000 passengers annually. However, there will be no direct connection with the old two terminals for now. A corridor will be constructed in the second phase of the project.
According to the CAAB chairman, 120–130 aircraft from over 30 airlines takeoff and land at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport's first and second terminals every day.
About 20,000 passengers use the airport's two terminals every day. As a result, the HSIA currently has the capacity to serve about 80 lakh passengers annually.
With the opening of the third terminal, it will be possible to serve another 12 million passengers, he said. Once Terminal 3 , passengers will be able to avail the following facilities:
The new terminal building will feature a total of 10 automatic passport control stations or e-gates at the departure area. This innovative system allows passengers to complete the immigration process independently, eliminating the need to interact with immigration authorities.
Nevertheless, for those passengers who prefer not to handle immigration procedures independently, there will be 56 exit immigration counters staffed by immigration officials ready to assist them. Additionally, there will be 5 e-gates available for passengers arriving in Bangladesh from other countries, and 54 arrival immigration counters to ensure a smooth entry process.
State-of-the-art scanning systems for security
Currently, passengers undergo manual security checks at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. However, this practice is set to change. In the future, security checks will be entirely automated, eliminating the need for physical contact during the screening process right up until the passengers aboard the plane.
As a part of this streamlined procedure, passengers will be required to raise both hands inside the body scanner machine. This advancement is expected to result in significant time savings for both passengers and airport security personnel.
Less commuting hassles for passengers
Once the terminal officially opens, passengers will experience seamless travel transitions to and from the airport. This is attributed to the on-going construction of underground tunnels and flyovers in conjunction with the third terminal building, which will significantly enhance travel convenience.
Passengers will have effortless access to ground transportation, including convenient connections to the metro rail and Dhaka Elevated Expressway, facilitating swift departures and arrivals. Moreover, the terminal will be equipped with a state-of-the-art international-quality firefighting system to ensure passenger safety.
Other facilities include:
To cater to passengers' needs during transit, a range of amenities is being introduced. These include movie lounges and food courts designed to enhance the passenger experience. Additionally, airline lounges and dayrooms will be available for travellers seeking comfort and relaxation. Furthermore, 14 duty-free shops will be strategically placed throughout the terminal, offering passengers opportunities for both leisurely strolls and shopping.
Passengers can expect to find an array of amenities such as food courts, food galleries, Wi-Fi connectivity, and mobile charging facilities, both within and outside the terminal. To accommodate passengers' religious needs, separate prayer areas will be designated for men and women. The new terminal will also feature a dedicated "meeters and greeters plaza" to facilitate the welcoming of visitors.
The lounge will provide a dedicated breastfeeding booth, diaper-changing facilities, and a spacious family bathroom.
Additionally, a children's play area equipped with sleeper swings will be available for young travellers to enjoy.
Passengers at the new terminal will have access to 24-hour medical care, including health inspection services staffed by doctors, first-aid rooms for immediate medical assistance, testing centres, and isolation areas for various diseases, including COVID-19.
Back in 2017, the government initiated the Terminal 3 project for Dhaka’s main airport. However, work on the construction of the terminal commenced on December 28, 2019.
This ambitious and visionary project has been estimated to cost approximately Tk 21,398 crore. Notably, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, or JICA, is providing Tk 16,141 crore in the form of a loan to support the project, while the Government of Bangladesh is coughing up the remaining Tk 5,257 crore.
The highly coveted contract for construction of HSIA Terminal 3 was won by a consortium made up of 3 of Asia’s leading firms in the sector: Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, as well as Fujita Corporation, and South Korean behemoth Samsung C&T Corporation ("Construction & Trading Corporation”).