Delhi's second airport project takes off, phase-1 to be completed by 2024

The first phase is expected to be completed early 2024, and will cater to 12 million passengers, Daniel Bircher, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich Airport International Asia said
Delhi’s second airport project hit the runway on Wednesday, after a concession agreement for starting work on the airport was signed between the Government of Uttar Pradesh and Zurich Airport International.

The first phase is expected to be completed early 2024, and will cater to 12 million passengers, Daniel Bircher, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich Airport International Asia said.

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

Last year, 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.

Zurich Airport offered a revenue share of Rs 400.97 per passenger. GMR, which had the right of first refusal (RoFR), offered Rs 351 per passenger. It would have had the chance to match the highest bid only if its offer was within 10 percent of it.

Despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation sector, which has slowed down air traffic, Bircher said that it will not impact the deadline of the project.

Infrastructure projects in India are seldom completed on time with issues like land acquisition, availability of finance hitting deadlines. The second international airport in Mumbai which was slated to open in 2019 but has been repeatedly pushed behind with the current one being in 2021.

While the first phase of the project will have one runway and cater to 12 million passengers, by the fourth phase Zurich plans to have two runways and cater to 70 million passengers. The total investment in the first phase of the project will be Rs 4,666 crore.

Arun Veer Singh, CEO of Yamuna Expressway Development Authority (YEIDA) said that the 5,000 hectares of land is available for development of the airport and the capacity can be increased in future according to necessity.

PwC, which was given the task of doing a techno feasibility study of the airport has suggested that the airport can sustain five runways.” PwC gave a presentation on techno-economic feasibility report on Friday, informing us that three more runways are feasible on the 5,000 acres of land notified for the airport at Jewar, bringing the total runway capacity of the airport to five,” Singh said.

However, Bircher said that planning for the next phase of expansion will begin only when the airport attains 80 percent of projected passenger growth.

While it has been named as the Noida International Airport and is situated 70 kms from Delhi, if completed on time, the project has been pitched as the second airport in Delhi and will compete against GMR-owned Indira Gandhi International Airport.

CEO of the airport, Christopher Schnellman said that while the airport expects some spillover traffic from Delhi, the primary aim will be to target the catchment area of Noida, Greater Noida and Western Uttar Pradesh.

The overlapping catchment area between the existing airport and our airport will be narrow. We have our new catchment area and we will be looking to open up new markets. Bear in mind that of course there is a large concentration of travelling public in Delhi, but with this project, we are also unlocking the potential of a broader catchment area,” Schnellman said.

The pandemic had delayed the signing of the concession agreement as Zurich Airport officials were unable to come due to closure of international borders.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for Zurich Airport. Despite the pandemic, the teams have relentlessly worked and achieved this milestone. Jewar airport is touted to be the largest in Asia and would be one of the finest,” said Anuja Tiwari, partner at law firm DSK Legal, which advised Zurich Airport on the project.


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