By Rohit Vaid
NEW DELHI: Once operational in 2024, Noida International Airport (NIA) will bring the much-needed aviation infrastructure in the National Capital Region (NCR), contended the builder of the upcoming facility.
Touted to be Asia’s largest airport once all phases are completed, the NIA will be designed and operated by Switzerland-based Zurich International Airport Limited AG (ZAIA) under a 40-year concession.
The first phase of the mammoth project is expected to be completed by 2024 with a capacity for 12 million passengers per year.
In a conversation with IANS, Daniel Bircher, CEO, Zurich Airport International (Asia), said: “We’re bringing much-needed aviation infrastructure to one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas – a region with a very strong economic and industrial growth outlook.”
“This is also crucial for the airlines that need space for strategic growth. Overall, we believe India is a strong market and the domestic demand will fuel the economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic,” Bircher added.
Recently, the Uttar Pradesh state government signed the concession agreement with the company to commence the development of the airport at Jewar.
Bircher elaborated that airport construction will create several thousand additional jobs in the next few years.
“The project will fuel employment generation in the state of Uttar Pradesh. We expect the airport ecosystem will create about 3,000 to 4,000 direct jobs once operational,” Bircher said.
On the likely traffic trends, he predicted that initially the airport will cater to the domestic demand.
“Once the airport is operational, 90 per cent of the initial traffic will be domestic. We will look at collaborating with foreign airlines to enhance international connectivity as well,” Bircher said.
“We will make sure to support them with cost-effective processes, low-turnaround costs and seamless transfer facilities,” he added.
Furthermore, the upcoming airport aims to offer competitive, cost-efficient processes for all airlines, he said.
“As a greenfield airport, the NIA will provide the necessary space for overnight parking and sufficient peak hour slots for an airline that wants to strategically grow in the Delhi NCR region,” Bircher said.
Another major advantage of the airport will be its proximity to upcoming industrial clusters and tourist destinations of Agra, Mathura and Vrindavan.
“We believe regional traffic will hugely contribute to the recovery and revival of air travel in India. The airport is located strategically between Delhi and Agra, close to the fast-developing Noida and Greater Noida area,” Bircher said.
“The region with infrastructure, traffic and big catchment area, has a huge potential. We are even optimistic that the location will help in drawing more traffic towards the airport from connected regions, once operational in 2024,” he added.
The NIA is about 72 km away from the IGI Airport, about 40 km from Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, about 28 km from Greater Noida, 65 km from Gurugram and 130 km from Agra.
It is connected via Yamuna Expressway and other multi-modal transport options that are still in planning phase.
Last year, ZAIA had won the contract to build and operate the airport in Greater Noida for a period of 40 years.
It received the security clearance from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to develop the NIA at Jewar in May this year.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)