Notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19 and inflation, the development of the upcoming Noida International Airport (NIA) is on schedule and it will be delivered in time, by the end of 2024, and within the sanctioned budget, a top project officer said on Thursday.
The greenfield airport is coming up in the Jewar area of western Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar district, around 75 km from Delhi, and will be the second international airport in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Switzerland-based Zurich Airport International AG (ZAIA) holds the concession contract to design, build and operate the airport for a period of 40 years.
The NIA is a public-private partnership project of the Uttar Pradesh government, with the Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL), a fully-owned subsidiary of the ZAIA, being its implementing agency.
“We are on schedule to deliver the project as per the terms and conditions of the concession agreement,” YIAPL chief executive officer Christoph Schnellmann told a press conference in Greater Noida.
The NIA, billed to be the country’s largest airport on its completion, will be developed in four phases, after which it would have an annual passenger capacity of seven crore and two terminal buildings spread over five lakh square metres.
Work is currently underway for the first phase of the project, which is scheduled to be completed by September 2024 with one terminal building spread over one lakh square metres and a passenger capacity of 1.2 crore per year.
Responding to a PTI query on any cost overrun in the mega project considering Covid and inflation, Schnellmann said, “We have secured a funding of Rs 5,730 crore and we expect to deliver the airport within the funding that has been sanctioned to us.” On the operational sustainability and success of the project, chief operations officer of the NIA Kiran Jain said the population in the NCR is huge and hence, there is a need for a second international airport here.
She said their discussions with the airlines, the cargo operators, along with the maintenance, repair and overhaul firms, for the work at the NIA have been “incredibly positive”.
“In terms of our relationships with the airlines, our conversations with the MROs, the cargo freight operators or the multi-modal cargo hub developers, I can tell you that our discussions are incredibly positive. There is a great belief in what we are doing and in the need for having another airport for this very busy catchment,” Jain said.
The COO noted that the Yamuna Expressway being located nearby, besides a planned metro and a high-speed rail project, will work to the advantage of the airport in driving passenger traffic.
She said the airport, whilst being energy-efficient, digital and modern, will also reflect the architectural heritage of Uttar Pradesh, such as elements inspired from Varanasi, and will ensure hassle-free movement for even first-time flyers from the hinterlands.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the greenfield project on November 25 last year in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Schnellmann said the ongoing work includes excavation of the ground for an air traffic control tower, clearing and grubbing of the ground for the runway construction and the casting of the foundation for the terminal building.
“There are around 1,000 workers on the site at the moment, dozens of machines and four batching plants (where concrete is mixed before being transported to a construction site, ready to be poured) are functional,” the project CEO said.
He said once the airport is developed, it will create a commercial ecosystem that will help create jobs locally as well.
The press conference comes at a time when the district administration is in the process of acquiring land for the second phase of the project.
While the consent of more than 70 per cent land owners — the minimum mandated by law — has been taken, the acquisition process has been hit by a string of protests by villagers, who are demanding an enhanced compensation amount for their land.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)