Armed with 23 years of work experience in the aviation industry, Jaideep Singh Balhara is currently airport director, Jaipur International Airport. Prior to this, he has served as airport director for the Guwahati and Chandigarh airports too.
Balhara has been associated with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) since 1994. He started his career as an assistant executive engineer (electrical), where his role primarily involved strategic planning for the development and implementation of a variety of engineering projects. His responsibilities ranged from effective budgeting and project execution to the successful commissioning of these projects.
Under his leadership, Jaipur airport has been adjudged the best airport in the world in the 2-5 million passenger per annum (mppa) category, in a recent Airports Council International survey (for 2016). A moment of pride for Balhara was when the airport became CAT-IIIB compliant well within the targets set by AAI. As a result of the new landing system, the airport’s winter schedule of 2016 saw only one flight diversion.
However, the airport suffers from a capacity crunch. Designed for a capacity of 1.5 mppa, the airport reached 2.9 mppa in 2015-16. Nonetheless, plans to counter the issue are in place. “The long-term plan is to augment the capacity of the existing terminal and construct a new one at cost of Rs 12 billion by 2020. Meanwhile, two new boarding gates will be opened at the airport by April 30, 2017,” says Balhara. Speaking about future plans, he says, “Jaipur airport is now geared up to provide the visa-on-arrival facility to applicants filling e-Visas, starting April 1, 2017.” He adds, “In this regard, we will be adding four additional counters to offer this facility to passengers from 161 countries.”
Besides a BE degree in electrical engineering, Balhara has a master’s degree in business management and is a certified International Airport Professional under the Airports Council International and the International Civil Aviation Organization. His positive attitude and his belief in teamwork are his greatest strengths and his all-time favourite books are The Power of Positive Thinking and Autobiography of a Yogi.
A family man at heart, Balhara talks fondly of his two children and his wife. In his free time Balhara likes reading and watching movies, his favourite actor being Dharmendra. His simplicity is evident when asked about his ideal holiday destination. He takes a moment and says, “Kangra, Himachal Pradesh.”