Friday, October 07, 2022

Metro, expressway, hi-speed rail; India's most connected Noida's Jewar airport to test 2-airport theory

Connections can make or break. Perhaps nowhere does that hold truer than for an upcoming airport. It is with this in mind that Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) new airport at Jewar - which will compete with Delhi’s existing airport Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) - is being designed.

By the end of 2024, as Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL), a 100% subsidiary of Zurich Airport International incorporated in 2019 to develop the greenfield facility, gets ready for its first flight, passengers looking to fly in and out of the national capital region (NCR) will be spoilt for choice in more ways than one. Not only will many of them have the option of which airport if everything goes as planned, but there will also be many ways of reaching what is gearing up to be India’s best-connected airport in the near future.

In the first phase and at a cost of ₹5,730 crore, the new airport with a single runway and the terminal building is expected to cater to 12 million passengers per annum. A second runway and terminal are proposed once the traffic touches 50 million. Over the next 40 years, traffic is expected to touch 70 million. 65% of the first tranche of funding is coming from the State Bank of India (SBI) and the rest will be funded by Zurich Airports International. In June, the contract to build the facility was recently awarded to Tata Projects.

An idea first mooted in 2001, Jewar remained on paper for a bit but was moved around to alternate sites in the state by subsequent governments before being frozen in 2014. Till a few years ago, the area was mostly a sleepy little hamlet with a smattering of temples including a roughly 25-foot Hanuman statue, a burial ground and some local houses, not remarkably different from the thousands of Indian villages one encounters all over the country.

In 2017, however, things began to gather pace. The state government acquired and got the land vacated despite minor hiccups. By the end of November 2019, Zurich International Airport won the bid to build and operate the new airport for 40 years, with a further right of first refusal for 30 years.

07/10/22 Anjuli Bhargava/Fortune India

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