India clears plan for $3.10 bln second airport for Delhi

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India will build a second international airport near its capital city in the next four to five years, costing an estimated 200 billion rupees ($3.10 billion), the government announced on Saturday, to meet explosive growth in passenger traffic.

The Noida International Airport near New Delhi will be built from scratch in phases and is expected to cater to 30-50 million passengers per year (MPPA) over the next 10-15 years, the civil aviation ministry said in a statement.

Air travel in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, has boomed in the last decade as it opened up to competition, ticket prices were slashed and the number of people wealthy enough to travel swelled.

Air traffic in New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport is expected to reach up to 91 MPPA in next three years and touch its peak handling capacity of 109 MPPA by 2024, the statement said, highlighting the need for a second airport near the capital city.

In-principle approval

“We have granted in-principle approval for a greenfield airport at Jewar (Greater Noida) to cater to the growing flying requirements of NCR,” Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said in a tweet.

NCR, or the National Capital Region, encompasses Delhi and several surrounding districts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan states.

The new airport in Greater Noida in northern Uttar Pradesh state, will be 72 kms (about 45 miles) away from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. The 3,000 hectare (7,400 acre) airport will have one runway in its initial phase, adding three more in subsequent phases.

The state government along with Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority will bear the land procurement cost. Contracts for this public-private partnership project will be awarded after competitive bidding, the statement said.

Most of India’s 40 largest airports will exceed their design capacity within a decade based on projected growth rates, consultancy CAPA estimates, with Mumbai and Chennai fast approaching saturation.

India’s government plans to open 50 disused airports by 2020, and has given approval for 18 greenfield airports.

Delays in acquiring land, as well as the inability of debt-laden domestic airport operators such as GMR Group and GVK to invest, have stymied expansion proposals.

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