Airports have been becoming increasingly important in the lives of Indians as more and more people join the middle-class and air travel becomes more accessible to them. At such a point, it is important to sustain the demands of the people by ensuring more efficient airports and greater connectivity to airports.
Many international cities have multiple airports. Take the case of New York or London. New York City has three airports, viz, LaGuardia, JFK and Newark, which cater to millions of passengers each year. New York’s LaGuardia Airport, which is located in Queens, mainly handles domestic flights. The city’s iconic JFK Airport, which is also located in Queens, mostly handles international traffic. Newark Airport is in fact located in neighbouring New Jersey and handles both domestic and international flights. With its proximity to Manhattan, Newark serves as one of the most important airports in the world. Similarly, London has six airports. Cities having multiple airports are a huge boost for the people of the region as it helps them in saving precious time and money boosts productivity.
India is one of the fastest developing major economies of the world and New Delhi being the capital is an important political, cultural and financial hub. However, Delhi currently has only one airport, namely, Indira Gandhi International Airport, which is also known as IGI Airport. It is perhaps the only airport that cater to lakhs of people in the National Capital Region. Over the past recent years there has been plans of construction of a new international airport in the Delhi-NCR region. The Jewar International Airport is a proposed airport to be constructed in Jewar located in Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh. The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) is said be the implementing agency on behalf of the UP government. The airport is set to be developed on a Public Private Partnership model.
In a latest development concerning the Jewar Airport, Delhi Airport International Limited (DIAL) and Zurich Airport have been reported to be among the four bidders for the proposed international airport. Technical bids were opened for selection of the Airport project on Wednesday at the office of the Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL). Yamuna Expressway Authority CEO Arun Veer Singh said, “DIAL, Zurich Airport International AG, Adani Enterprises Limited and Anchorage Infrastructure Investments Holdings Limited have participated in the global bidding.” He also said, “A separate financial bid will be opened on November 29. The companies which will qualify in the technical bid will participate in the financial bid. It will be known after the evaluation whether every entity or some of them qualify for the financial bid.”
The Jewar Airport, which will be spread over an area of 1,334 hectare and initially start with two runways, is going to cost around Rs. 29,000 crores. Eventually, the airport will have as many as six runways making it India’s biggest airport. Currently, the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport of Delhi is the biggest airport of India, with three runways. Upon completion, the Jewar Airport will emerge as one of the three biggest airports in the world, including O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Daxing International Airport in Beijing, China, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas, US.
What is particularly important to mention here that the Jewar Airport is going to come as a major boon for the Delhi-NCR region and also the nearby towns and cities which use the IGI Airport at Delhi for air travel. It is of course going to ease the heavy burden on the IGI Airport at Delhi considerably, which is expected to soon reach its capacity.
The IGI Airport has been growing at a rate higher than the national average. In the last one decade, the passenger traffic has grown at a Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14 per cent when compared to the national average of 11.7 per cent. Even in the cargo category, the IGI Airport needs de-congestion. It handles 30 per cent of the total cargo in India, and here also it has witnessed a CAGR of 14 per cent.
The Hindon Airport in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh has started commercial operations recently. However, Hindon is a major Air Force Station and the commercial operations which have been started cannot really take off in a big way. It can at the best operate as an alternate on few we domestic routes. However, it will not really help de-congest the IGI Airport. The Jewar Airport, on the other hand, is going to be a game-changer that will play a substantial role in easing the burden upon the current IGI Airport in Delhi. It will generate an annual footfall of 50 lakhs which will go up to 1.6 crore by 2029-30 and is expected to further rise to 7.1 crore by 2043-44.
It must also be noted that the Delhi-NCR region has emerged in a big way, especially over the last one and a half decade with the emergence of Greater Noida, Faridabad, etc. The IGI Aiport however is located towards one particular corner of the National Capital. The regions of East Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida are therefore at a disadvantage. Take the example of Greater Noida from where people have to travel a distance of around 55 kilometres upto the IGI Airport. This is rather absurd as travellers have to spend a lot in terms of both travel time and cost in order to access the IGI Airport. Similarly, people from Ghaziabad have to travel a distance of around 50 kilometres in order to access the IGI Airport. With the coming up of the Jewar Airport in Greater Noida, the distance will go down to go down to around 20 kilometres. The people of the region are going to be major beneficiaries in terms of travel time and cost.
What makes Jewar Airport a game-changer is the fact that its location and connectivity has been meticulously planned. It is going to be merely 700 metres away from the Yamuna Expressway connecting Delhi and Agra. Also, it will be just 30 kilometres away from the National Highway 22-A connecting Palwal and Aligarh. Moreover, the southern side of the airport is planned to be connected to the proposed Palwal-Khurja airport. What also boosts connectivity for other towns dependant upon Delhi-NCR for air connectivity, is the fact that it is expected to be connected to the Eastern Peripheral Expressway. This will ensure ease of access for cities like Palwal, Manesar, Ghazaibad, Bhagpat and Meerut. Therefore, apart from ensuring better connectivity for the Delhi-NCR region especially East Delhi and the neighbouring areas of Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, this airport will also cater to a number of other towns, people have to currently travel right upto the IGI Airport that is a costly and time-taking experience.
The Jewar Airport is therefore going to come up as a truly empowering infrastructure project for the people of Delhi-NCR region and the nearby towns and cities. It is going to be a gamechanger for the Delhi-NCR region and the ongoing bidding process shows that it is moving in the right direction.