The Indian government has approved the construction of a second international airport at Jewar in Greater Noida near its capital city in the next four to five years, costing an estimated 200 billion rupees (US$3.1 billion), to meet strong growth in passenger and cargo volumes.
"We have granted in-principle approval for a greenfield airport at Jewar (Greater Noida) to cater to the growing flying requirements of NCR," Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said in
a tweet. NCR, or the National Capital Region, encompasses Delhi and several surrounding districts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan states.
Siphoning off traffic from IGIA
The new airport in Greater Noida, will be 72 kilometers away from the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The 3,000-hectare (7,400 acre) airport will have one runway in its initial phase, adding three more in subsequent phases.
It is expected that the GMR Group, which runs the existing Delhi airport, will be the preferred developer of the project that will take five or six years to be built, officials say.
Local papers like the Hindustan Times warn that the step will adversely affect both passenger and cargo traffic, consequently impact revenues negatively generated by Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGIA). Conversely, other sources speak of a decision that’s overdue. “IGIA is getting near full capacity, so we need a second airport for Delhi,” emphasized an official from the Aviation Ministry.
Sustainable long-term planning
Based on projected growth rates, most of India's 40 largest airports will exceed their design capacity within a decade, consultancy CAPA estimates, with Mumbai and Chennai fast approaching saturation.
The government plans to open 50 disused airports by 2020, and has given approval for 18 greenfield airports.
In the meantime, industry representatives have applauded the plan, pointing out that it demonstrates sustainable long-term planning of the government.
Total air cargo (both domestic and international) at all Indian airports during 2016-17 (Apr 16 - Feb 17) witnessed a growth rate of 9.3%.
Nol van Fenema