Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Noida airport to have one runway and 90 per cent domestic traffic initially: Zurich airport official

New Delhi: One runway of the Noida international airport will be built during the first phase of construction and around 90 per cent of the air traffic in the initial years will be domestic only, said a top official of Zurich Airport International on Wednesday.

Officials of the Uttar Pradesh government and Zurich Airport International signed a concession agreement on Wednesday to begin the construction of the Noida airport in Jewar on the outskirts of Delhi.

"We will obviously work with the local construction partners to build it (Noida airport) but we will be the main investor at the moment," Daniel Bircher, Chief Executive Officer, Zurich Airport International (Asia) told PTI in an interview.

He said the company might get another financial investor at a later stage to develop the airport further.

"As a strategic objective, we are looking at building a platform of airports in India in the mid-term. So, it could be that we will join hands with a financial investor in a later stage to make this platform (Noida airport) grow. At this stage of the development phase (of Noida airport), we will do it ourselves," he added.

Zurich Airport International currently holds 100 per cent shareholding in the Noida airport project.

It had outbid the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), Adani Enterprises and Anchorage Infrastructure Investments Holdings Limited to win the 40-year concession for the Noida airport. The GMR group-led DIAL operates the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in Delhi.

"What we know today is that the Delhi airport (IGIA) has natural limitations in the peak hours, so the airlines that want to operate during the peak hours will find ways to operate. So, there will be a shift of these airlines," Bircher noted.

"So, will the same airline also use the airport to do international flights? That is up to the airline to decide. I do not see this (Noida) airport to be the competition to the international traffic at the existing airport (IGIA). That will not change for some time," he said.

When asked if the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed its air traffic projections at the Noida airport, Bircher said," Today, there is an impact (due to the pandemic) but we are very confident that India with such a large domestic market...will very strongly rebound as we have seen in 2011-12."

In the last 5-6 years, a growth rate of 20 per cent plus has been observed for some airports in India so any substantial changes in traffic projections are not seen, he added.

07/10/20 Deepak Patel/PTI/Outlook

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