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Explained: The importance of Jewar airport, why it is needed and the areas it will serve

🔴 Jewar airport is critical to support the growth of air traffic. Delhi's IGI airport could be saturated within a decade.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath during the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Noida International Airport at Jewar, in Gautam Buddha Nagar district, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the Noida International Airport (NIA) at Jewar, Uttar Pradesh on Thursday. The project is part of the government’s plan to expand existing airports and build new ones to both support growth of regional air traffic and to sustain air traffic growth in the congested metros.

Imminent saturation of the existing Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi presents a case for a second airport in the National Capital Region to handle the future traffic projections.

The project

The airport, the first phase of which is scheduled to open in 2024, is being built through a public private partnership (PPP) with an investment of Rs 5,730 crore. The airport will be spread over an area of 5,000 hectares, and is being developed by Zurich International Airport AG.

The company Noida International Airport Ltd was incorporated in 2018 as a joint venture of the Government of Uttar Pradesh (through its Department of Civil Aviation), NOIDA, Greater NOIDA, and Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) in the ratio of 37.5% to 37.5% to 12.5% to 12.5%.

A concession agreement was signed in October last year with the concessionaire, Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL), an SPV of the bid-winner Zurich International Airport AG. In 2019, the Swiss company offered a bid of Rs 400.97 per passenger and emerged as the winner, outbidding infrastructure players such as the Adani Group.

In early December last year, Zurich Airport International selected a consortium consisting of Nordic, Grimshaw, Haptic, and STUP as the architects to design the passenger terminal of the airport. The design of the airport focuses on short and efficient passenger flows, and digital and tech-enabled customer services, according to the developers.

Jewar airport

The requirement

A second airport in the NCR was planned well before the Covid-19 pandemic, aimed mainly at reducing the burden on IGI Airport, which is expected to reach its peak capacity of handling close to 110 million passengers annually within the next decade.

In the first phase, the Noida International Airport will have the capacity to handle 12 million passengers annually with one runway and 25 aircraft stands. The capacity of the airport is expected to increase to 70 million passengers per annum by 2050. Once the new airport begins operation, it will release valuable slots for airlines operating to the NCR region, bringing relief in the current congested scenario.

In the initial phase, the airport will only operate domestic flights. YIAPL CEO Christoph Schnellmann said: “The strong recovery in the aviation sector along with the government’s initiative to develop and expand airports will not only help meet the growing demand for travel but also encourage higher connectivity between tier 2 and 3 cities in the country. Noida International Airport will connect western Uttar Pradesh to other cities in India and the world. This world class airport will set a benchmark in aviation infrastructure and development of multiple-airport systems in India.”

The location

Jewar Airport will come up about 72 km from IGI Airport, 40 km from Noida, and about 40 km from the multi-modal logistics hub at Dadri. The airport will have multi-modal connectivity owing to its proximity to the Greater Noida-Agra Yamuna Expressway, and the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, and will be linked with the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway at Ballabhgarh, the Khurja-Jewar NH 91, and the dedicated freight corridor.

The Metro is proposed to be extended from Noida to the NIA and the proposed High Speed Rail (Delhi-Varanasi) at the airport terminal. A 60-metre-wide road parallel to the Expressway is proposed to be widened to 100 metres.

Experts say the success of any new airport depends on the connectivity it provides to nearby catchment areas. The Jewar airport is expected to serve residents of Noida and Greater Noida, and provide an alternative airport for residents of New Delhi and Gurgaon. Jewar airport will also serve western UP cities like Aligarh, Bulandshahr, Meerut, and Agra.

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