Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has claimed the Noida airport will be Asia’s largest and will generate employment opportunities for more than one lakh people
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the construction of the Noida International airport at a well-attended foundation stone laying ceremony on November 25, 2021 at Jewar in Gautam Buddha Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh (UP). This Greenfield airport will be the largest airport in the country. It is about 72 km from Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), which till now, is the only other international airport in the National Capital Region (NCR). Uttar Pradesh is the largest state of India by population and currently has eight operational airports. Noida airport is being developed through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. It would be owned by Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL) and operated by the Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL), a Special Purpose Vehicle of Zurich Airport AG. The airport is scheduled to start commercial flights in 2024.
AIRPORT PASENGER HANDLING CAPACITY
The IGIA which currently serves the NCR is already reaching its peak capacity. The airport is spread over more than 1,300 hectares and the first phase will cost around 10,050 crore and create a capacity to serve 1.2 crore passengers a year. The proposed plan is to initially build a two-runway airport by 2024 and at a future date, to expand it into a 7,200-acre six-runway airport. According to the proposed plan, the airport will handle five Million Passengers per Annum (MPA) initially and up to 60 MPA to 120 MPA, after its expansion over a period of 30 years.
The project site is located 72 km from IGIA. The distance to other major towns nearby are - 36 km from Bulandshahr, 48 km from Greater Noida, 60 km from Noida, 70 km from Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Mathura, 65 km from Aligarh and Gurgaon and 130 km from Agra. It will be connected to the Yamuna Expressway, allowing domestic and international tourists to travel to Agra, Mathura and Vrindavan. It will be the third commercial airport in Delhi-NCR after IGIA and the regional airport at Hindon. Jewar International Airport may be a boon for first-time homebuyers in Greater Noida.
Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) has identified 13,000 acres for the project, out of which 590 acres belongs to the state government and the rest is owned by private entities. YEIDA will acquire 3,280 acres in the first phase for the construction of terminal buildings and runways.
Connectivity will be handled by a “multi-modal transit hub” with metro and high-speed rail as well as taxi and bus services. The airport is proposed to be connected to Noida Metro via the Greater Noida route, and the Delhi Metro via the Faridabad - Ballabhgarh - Palwal - Jewar route. It is also proposed to be connected with driverless pod taxis or Personal Rapid Transit from an amusement park included in the proposed film city project, located in Greater Noida’s Sector 21. All major nearby roads and highways such as the Yamuna Expressway, Western Peripheral Expressway, Eastern Peripheral Expressway and Delhi-Mumbai. The airport will also be linked to the planned Delhi-Varanasi High-Speed Rail (HSR), enabling the journey between Delhi and the airport in only 21 minutes.
The project was first proposed in 2001 by then UP Chief Minister Rajnath Singh as a Greenfield Taj International and Aviation Hub (TIAH) at Jewar village near Greater Noida, adjacent to the Yamuna Expressway. The Central Government cleared the techno-feasibility report for setting up TIAH in April 2003. It was to be built at an approximate cost of 5,000 crore by the year 2007-2008. The project was put on hold during the UPA regime because the project site was within 150 km of the existing Greenfield IGIA in Delhi. Being just 72 km, the IGIA operator, GMR Group had protested against plans, claiming that it would impact traffic and revenue generation. GMR also had the Right of First Refusal (RoFR) on any new airport within 150 km of IGIA. The RoFR would give GMR preference in bidding in case its bid price was to be within ten per cent of the lowest bidder.
With six runways once fully completed, it will be India’s largest airport and among the world’s largest airports
In 2012, the Akhilesh Yadav-led government in UP contemplated shelving the project and proposed a new international airport in Agra. In June 2013, the State Government finalised a site in the Firozabad district as the site for the proposed airport. However, in January 2014, the Defence Ministry raised some objections regarding the site. Then, in November 2014, the state government allocated land near Etmadpur, East of Agra. However, when the BJP came to power at the centre, the project was again shifted back to Jewar.
THE MINISTRY CLEARANCES
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) cleared the proposal in June 2015 for the new airport to be set up on 2,200 acres. The Ministry of Defence cleared the project in June 2016. The MoCA gave an in-principle approval in May 2018 to the UP Government to build the airport. Meanwhile the UP Government had to expedite the planning process as the Haryana government was pushing for a similar airport at Hisar.
LAND ACQUISITION AND PROJECT GO AHEAD
November 2018, the UP Government approved the allocation of 1,260 crore for land acquisition. By December 2018, it was decided to be built under the PPP model. By end December, land acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement plan had been evolved. By September 2019, 1,750 acres of land had been acquired. In November 2019, a contract was awarded to Zurich Airport AG for developing and operating the airport for 40 years. By January 2020, 3,300 acres had been acquired. In October 2020, the final agreement was signed between Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL) and Zurich Airport International AG.
The project was put on hold during the UPA regime because the project site was within 150 km of the existing Greenfield IGIA in Delhi
In February 2021, the master plan for the airport was approved by the Airports Authority of India. Land was given for a 90-year lease. In September 2021, the Central Government approved the master plan for the airport. The deadline for completion of the terminal is set to August-September 2024. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the airport on November 25. The airport project will be implemented in four phases and the work on Phase I is scheduled to be completed in 36 months.
AMONG THE WORLD’S LARGEST AIRPORTS
With six runways once fully completed, it will be India’s largest airport and among the world’s largest airports. The Chicago O’Hare and the Dallas/Fort Worth are larger, with eight and seven runways respectively. Other existing airports with six runways are Amsterdam, Detroit, Boston and Denver. As of September 2019, with three runways, the IGIA has the highest number of runways of any airport in India. Since 2019, there is a proposal of two additional runways to bring the total to eight runways once completed. This is being done keeping future expansion in mind and subject to the availability of land. Such a proposal has been given the green signal by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
SWING AIRCRAFT STAND CONCEPT
The airport is introducing a swing aircraft stand concept, providing flexibility for airlines to operate an aircraft for both domestic and international flights from the same contact stand, without having to reposition the aircraft. This will ensure quick and efficient aircraft turnarounds at the airport while ensuring a smooth and seamless passenger transfer process.
For the first time, an airport in India has been conceptualised with an integrated multi-modal cargo hub, with a focus on reducing the total cost and time for logistics. The cargo terminal will have a capacity of 20 lakh tonne, which can be expanded to 80 lakh tonne. The airport, the centre said, would facilitate “seamless movement of industrial products” and help boost industrial growth in the region. Prime Minister Modi also said that the airport will be North India’s ‘Logistics Gateway’ and will help the state become an export centre whereby even MSMEs will have easier access to overseas markets.
GOVERNMENT’S VISION FOR THE AIRPORT
UP has eight operational airports at present. Once operational, this will be UP’s fifth international airport - the most in any state. Other international airports are in Lucknow and Varanasi. A third was inaugurated recently at a Buddhist pilgrimage site Kushinagar and the fourth in the temple-town of Ayodhya, which is being converted into a tourist hub. While laying the foundation stone, the Prime Minister said that this project will significantly boost commerce, connectivity and tourism. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said he expects investments of over 10,000 crore after the first phase and up to 35,000 crore once the airport is fully built.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has claimed the Noida airport will be Asia’s largest and will generate employment opportunities for over one lakh people. It is a part of Prime Minister Modi’s vision of creating a “future-ready aviation sector”. The design of the airport focuses on the convenience of passengers. Processes at the airport will be digitally enabled. Billed as India’s first ‘net zero emissions’ airport, the government is setting aside land for a ‘forest’. “We are making sure that the projects do not get stuck, do not keep hanging...we try to ensure that the infrastructure work is completed within the stipulated time,” the Prime Minister said.