Saturday, December 07, 2019

Noida Airport will complement IGI: Daniel Bircher, CEO, Zurich Airport Asia

Daniel Bircher, chief executive of Zurich Airport Asia, spoke to ET from Kuala Lumpur on the Zurich Airport AG’s successful bid for the Noida International Airport. Edited excerpts:

How do you see the prospects of business and traffic at the Noida International
We see a potential growth of air travel beyond 200 million passengers for the metropolitan Area of Delhi by the end of the concession period in 2060. For Noida International Airport, we see a development range between 50 and 80 million passengers until the end of the concession. The airport is located strategically between Delhi and Agra, close to the fastdeveloping Noida and Greater Noida area.
For success of Noida airport, road connectivity has to be executed as planned and the Metro must be extended to the airport. Apart from the land connectivity, the treatment of Noida International airport as equivalent to IGI Delhi International Airport is extremely important — thus traffic rights and airspace management are two important aspects that need to be applied for the whole NCR area.
If we look at large metropolitan areas worldwide, we see that second airports become viable once the primary airport reaches a level of about 35 million passengers. We see Noida International Airport as complementary to IGI Delhi International Airport.

Which aspects of your experience from Zurich Airport do you plan to incorporate in the Noida Airport?

Zurich Airport has been ranked top by the World Travel Award, the Skytrax Award, ACI ASQ Award and the Air Cargo Excellence Award over the past 10 years. We see this as a result of our well-functioning processes and passenger flows, our focus on passenger services, our dedication to have a clean, lean and efficient airport with Swissness. Our investment in Kempegowda international Airport
(Bengaluru), Belo Horizonte International Airport and Floripa Airport (Brazil) and Bogota Eldorado Airport (Colombia) has resulted in excellent customer feedback and satisfaction. Our aim is to develop and manage an efficient, user-friendly and sustainable Indian airport. Passengers will see, feel and experience Uttar Pradesh as well as India, be it in its architecture, its service culture and its
products and services (food, beverage, retail, entertainment) and by its local operating team.

How realistic are the targets (2023) for construction and start operations at Noida International Airport?

We consider timelines as very ambitious, but they are achievable. The Bengaluru Airport did not take even three years. We need a couple of approvals to come through from the authorities. Another factor is the land acquisition which we believe isn’t complete yet. We will sit with the Noida International Airport Authority and discuss our project plan to ensure that all the planning and construction steps
are thoroughly coordinated with the land acquisition process as well as with the construction of the airport access roads and other enabling works. Zurich Airport has delivered recently two terminals in Brazil in record time; we are used to working with tight timelines.
07/12/19 Aman Sharma/Economic Times

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