The Delhi Metro Airport Express train line, known as the Orange Line, opened in February 2011. A much anticipated part of Delhi's expanding Metro train network, it cuts travel time to Delhi airport from at least one hour to about 20 minutes. What a huge difference! Trains, imported from Spain, travel the 22 kilometer (13.7 mile) distance at 80 kilometers per hour. Almost 16 kilometers (10 miles) of the track are underground.
It's the fastest metropolitan train ride in India.
Here's what you need to know about the Delhi Airport Metro Express.
Where are the Stations?
The Airport Metro Express Line starts at the New Delhi Metro Station, located opposite New Delhi Railway Station. (If you want to get to the Paharganj backpacker area from there, cross over the bridge at New Delhi Railway station and you'll find it on the other side. See where to stay in Paharganj). It terminates at Dwarka Sector 21.
There are two stations in the vicinity of the airport: Delhi AeroCity (the airport's new hospitality precinct) and Terminal 3. If you're traveling on a domestic stand-alone budget airline (IndiGo, Spice Jet, GoAir), you'll have to take a transfer bus from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 to catch your flight, or get off the train at Delhi AeroCity station. A bus service is provided from Delhi AeroCity to Terminal 1. It departs every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Other stations on the line are Shivaji Stadium and Dhaula Kuan.
All stations are fitted with extra security, including explosive detectors, x-ray baggage scanners, CCTV cameras, and dedicated response teams with dog squads.
How Much Does it Cost?
Fares have been reduced a couple of times since the Airport Metro Express opened, most recently in September 2015, to encourage commuters from Dwarka to travel by the Airport Express Line instead of the congested Blue Line of the Delhi Metro.
The minimum fare is now 10 rupees. The fare from New Delhi Metro Station to Delhi Aerocity is 50 rupees, and 60 rupees to Terminal 3.
When Do Trains Run?
The first train departs at 4:45 a.m. from New Delhi Station and at 4.45 a.m. from Dwarka Sector 21. The last train departs at 11:40 p.m. from New Delhi Station and at 11.15 p.m. from Dwarka Sector 21.
The frequency of trains is every 10 minutes during peak times (from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. and 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.), and every 15 minutes during non-peak times.
Unfortunately, there are no plans to start operating the service 24 hours a day.
If you're departing from Terminal 3 and traveling on Air India (including domestic sectors) or Jet Airways, it's possible to check your baggage in and get your boarding pass at New Delhi Metro Station and Shivaji Stadium Metro Station. The airlines have check-in counters at these stations on the Airport Metro Express Line. Vistara also opened a check-in counter at New Delhi Metro Station in mid July, 2017.
The check-in facility means that passengers will be able to travel baggage free on the Metro, enabling two layers of security checks to be avoided. It has grown in popularity and about 500 passengers now use it every day.
The checked-in baggage is transferred to Terminal 3 of the airport through a secure baggage handling system. Passengers can check in up 8 hours before departure. Counters close two and a half hours before departure.
Future Airport Connectivity
By the end of 2017, Terminal 1 (where low cost domestic airlines operate) is expected to have a Metro station. The under-construction Magenta Line will run between Janakpuri West and Botanical Garden, with a stop at Terminal 1. It will particularly benefit passengers coming from south Delhi, with other stops at Vasant Vihar, Hauz Khas, Panchsheel Park, RK Puram and Greater Kailash.