The National Capital Region (NCR) will get its second airport at Jewar in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh — about 100 km from its current Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport.
On Saturday, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju confirmed that the Centre had given an in-principle nod to the greenfield project. It will be built on a public-private partnership model at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore, and at least one runway will be operational within six years.
According to sources, a looming capacity crisis at IGI Airport and a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Uttar Pradesh were the reasons for the revival of the 16-year-old proposal.
On Friday, at a meeting between the Uttar Pradesh government and Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority, the state had promised to provide 3,000 hectares. “The first phase will be built on 1,000 hectares,” Raju said.
In 2001, Rajnath Singh, then UP chief minister, first proposed an airport at Jewar. Mayawati, too, pursued the project after she became chief minister in 2007, but failed to make any headway because of the rule that prevented setting up a new airport within 150 km of IGI.
Now, the UP government has been asked to do a techno-feasibility study of the airport within a year, after which bids will be invited for the project.
The GMR group, which owns Delhi International Airport (DIAL), is a favourite, as it will have the right of first refusal included in the concession agreement for the Delhi airport signed in 2006. The company will be allowed to match the winning bid for an airport within 150 km of Delhi.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said a new airport was necessary as the current one would reach full capacity in seven years, at the current rate of growth.
“We are close to 60 million trips per year at Delhi now. We will definitely need a new airport within seven years,” he said, adding that the new airport would handle 30-50 million passengers in the next 10-15 years.
The state government has been asked to develop a multi-modal transport model around the airport. “The state has said they will look to extend the Noida-Greater Noida highway to Jewar. Other roads would be built around the airport,” Sinha said.
This would boost industries around Western UP and connect cities around the region.
More than 20 per cent annual growth in domestic passengers has led to a capacity crisis at major Indian airports.
A report by aviation consultancy firm CAPA paints a gloomy picture of six major airports in the country, reaching their capacity by 2025. The government is trying to attract private players to build airports as it attempts to make almost 200 facilities operational the next 10 to 15 years.
“We need about Rs 2-3 lakh crore to build new airports and most of the investment is going to come from private players,” Sinha had said earlier.