The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on Tuesday gave in-principle approval to the Uttar Pradesh government to build Noida International Airport at Jewar, a town situated about 100 kms away from New Delhi. This will be the second airport in the Delhi NCR region that will be expected to give relief to the existing airport in Delhi which is bursting at the seams.
The bidding process is likely to start in the first week of July, says Arun Vir Singh, CEO of Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), the nodal agency for the airport project. “We haven’t prepared the bidding document as yet. It is still at the discussion stage. The EoI (expression of interest) document will be floated in the first week of July,” he says. The think tank NITI Aayog had prepared a model bid document, and the YEIDA will do tweaking to that document over the next two months.
YEIDA has already initiated the environmental clearance and land acquisition processes. For the land acquisition process, the agency has done the social impact assessment study which was submitted to the UP government. The state government has formed an expert committee that will into the rehabilitation and resettlement process. The land acquisition process is expected to start by early June.
“By the end of September, we hope that the bidding process will be concluded, and by mid-October, we are planning to lay the foundation stone,” says Singh. It may be noted that the GMR, the operator of Delhi airport, has got the first right of refusal (ROFR) in the bidding process for Noida International Airport. According to the terms, for any airport that will be built within 150 kilometres of the radius of the Delhi airport, GMR will be given preferential treatment in the bidding process in case its bid is within 10 per cent of the highest bidder.
According to sources, the ROFR clause is not enough for GMR to win the bidding process but the operator is keeping close tabs on the developments.
Earlier, YEIDA had shortlisted global audit firm PwC to prepare techno-economic feasibility report (TEFR) on the project. On the basis of TEFR report, the MoCA has granted the in-principle approval to the airport which is a step ahead after giving clearance to the proposal last year.
Singh says that the entire project is expected to be completed by early or mid of 2022. “The day one capacity will be 5 million passengers, and in 30 years, it will go to 60 million. It will serve both international and domestic traffic,” he says.
The capacity constraints at the Delhi airport has started to affect the expansion plans of airlines, and causing inconvenience to passengers. Although the Delhi airport has chalked out plans to expand the capacity – from 70 million now to 109 million in 2034 – but the rate at which the passenger traffic is growing, sector experts believe that capacity issue is unlikely to be resolved.