UP cabinet okays Zurich Airport International plan to develop Jewar airport

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Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to award the contract for construction and operation of the mega Noida International Greenfield Airport in Jewar, Greater Noida, to Switzerland’s Zurich Airport International (ZAI).

Earlier, ZAI had emerged as the highest bidder, offering a per-passenger fee of nearly Rs 401, beating three other contenders, including GMR Group-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), Adani Enterprises and Anchorage Infrastructure Investments Holdings.

On December 2, the state project monitoring and implementation committee had recommended that ZAI be awarded the contract for the airport, which is slated to handle 12 million passengers a year once the first phase becomes operational by 2023.

As per the techno-economic feasibility report, the airport would handle 70 million passengers and three million tonnes of cargo a year when it all its phases are developed.

The decision to select ZAI as the concessionaire of the proposed airport was taken at the UP cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow this morning.

Addressing the media, UP cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh said the technical specifications of the proposed project were hailed by Niti Aayog, which had even recommended their being set as standards for future such projects in India.

He said the final contract with the company will be signed in due course, so that construction begins early next year.

Meanwhile, the state government plans to issue a conditional letter of award to ZAI later this week, while the selected bidder is expected to file for security clearance with the union home ministry in the first week of January 2020.

The project would be developed under the aegis of the Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL).

The new airport will be designed, developed and operated under a 40-year concession period and ZAI will invest more than Rs 4,500 crore in it.

The new airport will decongest New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).

Singh said that more than 80 per cent of the land had already been acquired for the project, which requires almost 1,450 hectares of land for the first phase spanning six villages in Greater Noida.

In May 2019, the state cabinet had approved the proposal to float a global tender for the project, apart from the disbursal of Rs 895 crore towards rehabilitation and resettlement of affected private landowners.

The Centre had given site clearance for the airport on July 6, 2017, and the union home ministry accorded its no-objection certificate on October 5 that year.

In December 2017, Uttar Pradesh allocated Rs 1,800 crore for land acquisition, while on May 9, 2018, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) gave its in-principle approval to the mega project.

The project, conceived in 2000, had been hanging fire for the past 18 years owing to regulatory and clearance hurdles.

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