New Delhi airport rail link opens

A new rail link between New Delhi and the city's main airport opened this week, easing the transfer for millions of passengers who pass through it every year.

Indira Gandhi airport is the busiest airport in South Asia and handles well over 20 million passengers every year, with that number rising rapidly.

Despite this, until this week the airport had no rail link to the city center, forcing tourists and commuters to rely on buses or private cars to make the 16-kilometer journey to downtown New Delhi.

With trains traveling at up to 135 km/h, the new express link takes just 20 minutes to cover the distance, with ticket prices set at 80 rupees (approximately €1.25).

The train departs from the newly constructed New Delhi station and will call at several other places, including the home of hockey in India, Shivaji Stadium.

An upgraded transport link is seen as vital to the continued growth of Delhi as a tourist destination, as well as to serve the growing number of Indians going overseas, which was 12 million strong in 2010 and is growing at an estimated 12-13 percent annually.

With Mumbai, Delhi is one of the most common entry points for India-bound travelers, who numbered 5.58 million in 2010, a growth of 9.3 percent on 2009's numbers.

By 2020, it's estimated that nine million tourists will visit India every year.