The first flight from the second airport in the National Capital Region at Jewar could take off as early as December 2021, Civil aviation secretary R N Choubey said on Wednesday. Choubey, along with senior officials of Airports Authority of India, visited the site of the upcoming airport on Tuesday to assess the progress of the project.
The proposed international airport at Jewar is considered to relieve the congested Indira Gandhi International Airport here, which is inching towards full capacity in terms of passengers it can handle. Currently, the airport handles 60 million passengers every year. In 2017, Delhi airport handled an average of 1,350 flights every day in 2017.
“Yesterday, we spent five hours over there. You will be surprised, land is the most difficult item to get, but the people of that area want to give their land for this because it will lead to a boom in that area. So we expect that the bid will be floated sometime in August or September, and by December this year, we expect the foundation stone of Jewar airport to be laid after awarding it to the selected concessionaire. By December 2021, even if the project is not fully completed, the first flight will take off from Jewar,” Choubey said. The Jewar airport project is being undertaken by Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority, which will form a special purpose vehicle to be put up for bids by concessionaires.
Further, the government is also working on plans to expand the Delhi airport, which is operated by GMR-owned Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL). However, the expansion of the Delhi airport has run into several hurdles, including the recent slugfest between domestic airlines that refuse to move from the Terminal-1, to the newly opened Terminal-2. DIAL, in September and October last year, had asked budget carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet to operate its flights, to and from Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru effective January 4 from the Terminal-2. GoAir was directed to shift its entire operations to Terminal-2. DIAL’s directive was on the grounds that Terminal-1 was already handling traffic beyond its capacity. Even as GoAir moved its operations to Terminal-2, IndiGo and SpiceJet moved the Delhi High Court challenging DIAL’s order citing inconvenience to passengers. The High Court upheld DIAL’s decision, but IndiGo moved the Court again earlier this month against the single-judge’s order.
With a final decision on the issue still pending, the Terminal-1 of the Delhi airport not only continues to handle passengers above its capacity but also is witnessing a delay in expansion. In such a scenario, Jewar airport is a part of the government’s plan to have more than one airport in the same city. Apart from Delhi-National Capital Region, the other congested airport at Mumbai is also expected to see relief once the Navi Mumbai airport comes up. Experts have backed the concept of multiple airports, particularly given that the current capacity of Indian airports is 282 million passengers per annum, whereas the demand forecast for 2020-21 is 396 million passengers a year.
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