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Monday, 04 Aug 2014
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Airport projects get fillip under new government


Airport infrastructure has received a boost under the new government with several new projects being proposed across the country. Projects which were stuck for several years are also expected to see some action in the coming months. The Union Budget 2014-15 has laid emphasis on setting up airports in Tier-I and Tier-II cities through public-private partnerships.


Airport projects get fillip under new government | ProjectsToday


In a welcoming move, the NDA government has decided to carry forward the UPA government’s grand plans to develop 200 low cost airports in the next 20 years, to improve regional connectivity. To begin with, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has been asked to prepare detailed plans to develop 50 low cost airports. In a meeting between secretaries of ministries and the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on 26 July 2014, it was decided that work on five of the 50 proposed low cost airports would be initiated by the Civil Aviation Ministry in this fiscal.


As per the blueprint being prepared by the AAI, each airport is expected to cost around Rs 50 crore as these are no-frills airports without conveyor belts, arrival lounges, air-conditioning etc.


Additionally, in the past three months, several greenfield airport projects have been proposed or have received approvals. Dholera is one of them. The Centre recently approved site clearance for the greenfield international airport at Dholera, Ahmedabad, in Gujarat, which is being developed by the Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB).


Construction of the Hollongi greenfield airport at Arunachal Pradesh was given in-principle approval by the Aviation ministry in July 2014. The Odisha government also recently signed an MoU with the AAI for development of a greenfield airport at Jharsuguda.


Further, the Aviation Ministry has identified Gaya and Raxaul in Bihar and Jamshedpur, and Deoghar in Jharkhand, for development of new airports.


The Uttar Pradesh government and AAI have recently signed an MoU to upgrade airports in Uttar Pradesh for commercial purposes. The state plans to upgrade the Meerut BR Ambedkar airport, which is used only for unscheduled flights, and to elevate the capacities of Moradabad and Faizabad airports to handle commercial flights. Besides this, the proposed Taj International greenfield airport project at Hirangoan, Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh is also under state’s scrutiny.


Boost to stalled projects


Other than building new airports, the new government has also shown its keenness to revive the stuck major airport projects. The Rs 14,575 crore Navi Mumbai International airport, which has been delayed for over a decade, finally made some progress when the Civil Aviation Ministry cleared the revised tender document prepared by CIDCO, on 21 July, 2014. Notices for land acquisition for the project have also been issued with physical possession of the land expected to be completed by September 2014. CIDCO is likely to complete Phase-I of the Navi Mumbai airport, in 2018.


The Navi Mumbai airport project is one of the 15 greenfield airport projects which have been granted in-principal approval by the Centre. These include the Mopa airport in Goa; Kannur and Aranmula airports in Kerala; and the Durgapur airport in West Bengal among others. However, similar to the Navi Mumbai project, most of them have failed to take off even years after being announced.


A plan to develop a second airport in Goa at Mopa has been stalled for several years. However, now with a friendly government in the centre, the project is expected to be fast tracked and the Request for Qualification (RfQs) expected to be issued shortly.


The Kannur International Airport project in Kerala, which was conceived some 15 years ago, is making progress with the foundation stone for the terminal building being laid on 5 July, 2014. Work on the project is expected to be on schedule and with likely completion by 2016. The airfield work was awarded to L&T in November 2013.


If all goes well, the Durgapur airport project in West Bengal -- touted to be India's first Aerotropolis (Airport City) -- is set to be operational by December this year. The airport project is being developed by Bengal Aerotropolis Projects (BAPL) in association with Singapore's Changi Airports International (CAI). This is the first private airport project in the state.


Quote of the week:

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
"Despite increase in air connectivity air travel is still out of reach of a large number of aspirational Indians. Scheme for development of new airports in Tier I and Tier II will be launched for implementation through Airport Authority of India or PPPs"
- Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance
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