Greenfield airports are key enablers of the development of industrial regions, including urban centres. These airports also have a significant multiplier effect on the economy. The government has given in-principle approval for setting up 21 greenfield airports across the country. Notably, eight of these airports have already been operationalised, namely, Durgapur airport in West Bengal, Shirdi airport in Maharashtra, Kannur Airport in Kerala, Pakyong airport in Sikkim, Kalaburagi airport in Karnataka, Orvakal (Kurnool) airport in Andhra Pradesh, Sindhudurg airport in Maharashtra and Kushinagar airport in Uttar Pradesh.
The Uttar Pradesh government has envisaged the development of a greenfield airport at Jewar. The project would provide the National Capital Region with a second airport after the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 296 billion. In November 2021, the foundation stone for the airport was laid. On completion of Phase I of the project, the airport will cater to 12 million passengers per annum. Yamuna International Airport Private Limited, the concessionaire for the airport, selected TATA Projects Limited to undertake engineering, procurement and construction of the project. Construction of the runway has started. Phase I is expected to be completed by 2024.
Another greenfield mega project is the Navi Mumbai airport, which is being developed on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis under the public-private partnership (PPP) model at an estimated cost of Rs 160 billion. Navi Mumbai International Airport Private Limited achieved financial closure for the project in March 2022. The State Bank of India has underwritten the entire debt requirement of Rs 128 billion for the project. The City and Industrial Development Corporation recently handed over the entire 2,866 acres of land required for the project to Adani Enterprises, the concessionaire. The state cabinet has decided to name the airport as LokneteSwargiya DB Patil International Airport.
The Mopa International Airport project is another mega project, being developed by GMR Infrastructure Limited. The project involves the development of airside, terminal and landside infrastructure at Mopa airport in Goa on a DBFOT basis, under the PPP model, for a concession period of 40 years. As of May 2022, more than 75 per cent of the construction work had been completed for Phase I of the airport project. Work on runways has also been completed. The airport is expected to commence operation in September 2022.
Other greenfield projects
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a proposal for Phase I of the development of a new greenfield airport at Dholera, Gujarat, at an estimated cost of Rs 13.05 billion. The airport is planned to be operationalised in 2025-26 and the initial passenger traffic is estimated to be 0.3 million passengers per annum, expected to grow to 2.3 million over a period of 20 years.
In another development, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has undertaken the work for construction of a new greenfield airport at Rajkot in Gujarat. The project is estimated to cost Rs 14.05 billion. The overall progress of the project is 45 per cent. The new airport is expected to be ready for operation by March 2023.
Another greenfield international airport has been proposed for development via the PPP mode at Bhogapuram. The project has not progressed at the desired pace due to non-issuance of site clearance approval and no-objection certificate, and several other conditions. The first phase is slated to be completed in 36 months after the commencement of work, at a cost of around Rs 23 billion. The foundation stone is likely to be laid soon.
Yet another upcoming greenfield airport will be developed at Nagchala in Himachal Pradesh. AAI signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with the Himachal Pradesh government in April 2022 for the development of the airport. The proposed airport will be developed through a JV company in which the state government will hold 51 per cent equity, with the remaining 49 per cent per cent being held by AAI. The projected land requirement for the airport is about 515 acres, and it is estimated to cost around Rs 9 billion, excluding the cost of land.
According to reports, the annual growth rate of India’s civil aviation sector is currently 9 per cent, but is expected to reach double digits in the coming years. Over the next two decades, the number of airports is expected to increase from 133 to 500. Of these, 367 are slated to be greenfield airports.
In sum, the operationalisation of greenfield airports would vastly increase the territory of the national aviation map, resulting in strong aerial connectivity across the country.