Safdarjung Airport – New Delhi, India - Atlas Obscura

Safdarjung Airport

The former Willingdon Airport started operations in 1929, in India's capital, Delhi. Now, it's used for maintenance runs and helicopter rides.  


Used extensively in WWII, what used to be known as Willingdon Airfield started operations in 1929 during the British Raj. Once serving as Delhi’s main airport until 1962, it is now called Safdarjung Aiport, and has been officially closed since 2002.

In 2001, after 9/11 and the success of the larger, more convenient Indira Gandhi International Airport, the Ministry of Home Affairs decided to close Safdarjung to the public and use it as a secure emergency getaway option for the President and the PM. It is still used for an array of interesting things, including VVIP helicopter transits of cabinet members, dignitaries, and state chief ministers, as well as aircraft maintenance courses, and it once served as a park-and-ride facility during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

In the famous comic book series Tintin in Tibet, Captain Haddock, Snowy and Tintin have a stop-over in India, and depart from Willingdon Airfield.

Adapted with permission from dedicated to travelers looking for alternative and off the beaten track travel.

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