Aerial Expansion

Upcoming greenfield airports

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.

Mega projects

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.

Opportunities galore

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.

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