The foundation stone of the Noida International Airport in Jewar was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25th November 2021. Speaking at the event, PM Modi said that after 70 years of Independence, Uttar Pradesh is finally getting what it deserves as the “double-engine government” has ensured that the State transforms into the best connected region in the country. “For so many years since Independence, U.P. was sneered at for poverty, caste-based politics, corruption, poor roads, absence of industries, arrested development and nexus between criminals and politicians. The people of U.P. would wonder whether U.P. could ever have a positive image,” Modi said addressing the massive gathering. Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and many of his ministerial colleagues were also present at the event.
PM also said that Noida International Airport will become the logistics gateway for northern India and will turn the region into an export-centre where even MSMEs will have easier access to overseas markets. The Airport will have a single runway and a passenger terminal building with a capacity to handle 1.2 crore passengers per annum by then. It will be developed over four phases until 2040, by when it will have the capacity to handle seven crore passengers per annum. It was proposed with the aim to decongest Delhi airport which will reach its structural capacity of 11 crore passengers by 2024. PM Modi also alleged that previous governments had ensured “deprivation” and “darkness” in U.P. He also said that unlike previous governments which announced several infrastructure projects but forgot about them, this government has ensured their time-bound implementation.
After the much anticipated and talked about event, it would be interesting to see how things pan out and what the people of Uttar Pradesh have in store for the BJP government in the upcoming elections. Meanwhile, let’s see what this project is all about.
The Airport project
The Noida International Airport at Jewar is spread across an area of 5,000 acres and is being developed by Zurich International Airport AG at an estimated cost of Rs 29,560 crore. The Swiss Airport company had won the bid in November 2019 following which a concessionaire agreement had been signed with the state government. 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 Zurich Airport offered a bid of Rs 400.97 per passenger followed by a bid of Rs 360 by Adani Group and emerged as the winner.
Noida International Airport Limited, a joint venture, was incorporated as a government organisation in which UP government has 35%, Noida Authority 35%, Greater Noida Industrial Authority 12.5% while Yamuna Expressway Industrial Authority has 12.5% share holding.
The plot for the Jewar airport was laid down during Rajnath Singh’s government when he was UP CM in 2001. In 2010, Mayawati, proposed a Taj Aviation Hub, which did not make any headway. Between 2012 and 2016, the SP government took forward the idea of an international airport in Jewar and Agra. In 2017, the government obtained site clearance for the Jewar airport. In 2019, the technical and financial bids were announced and a developer to construct the airport was decided upon. In July this year, the CM sanctioned the handing over of 1,334 hectare land to Noida International Airport Ltd (NIAL) under a 90-year land lease agreement.
Benefits of the Airport
Job creation: The airport’s strategic location is likely to create job opportunities for at least 1 lakh people, according to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scinda. Job opportunities will not just come from the construction of the massive project but also when the airport becomes operational.
Investments: The project is likely to draw massive investments in the region. Officials estimate the airport to bring in investments worth Rs 35,000 crore. In the initial years after completion, the airport is expected to yield investments worth Rs 10,000 crore for adjoining areas. Given its strategic location, many corporates would look to invest in the region. It is located about 72 km from Delhi’s IGI Airport and 40 km from the multi-nodal logistics hub at Dadri.
Boost to tourism: The airport is expected to boost income from tourism in the state. After completion, the airport will ease travelling for residents of East Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Meerut and nearby west UP districts. Moreover, with a target of over one crore footfall every year, the airport will give a major boost to tourism in Agra and Mathura.
Growth in Real Estate: It is also likely to substantially boost real estate development and sales in the Greater Noida region. The Jewar airport has been pegged as a vital project by experts tracking the real estate sector as they feel that the project will lead to a surge in demand for real estate in Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway.
Run-up to UP Assembly Elections
In the run-up to the assembly elections scheduled to be held in 2022 in five states, Uttar Pradesh being the most important one for the Bharatiya Janata Party, the party has already started putting in efforts to address the people of the state. Attacking the opposition during his speech at the event, UP CM Yogi Adityanath said the country has to decide if the sweetness of sugarcane will grow or the followers of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah will cause mischief in the state. Even Prime Minister Modi in his speech mentioned that previous state governments had written a letter to stop this project.
The laying of foundation stone before assembly elections has been seen as yet another masterstroke of the BJP and the war of words between BJP and opposition just prove the fact. BSP supremo Mayawati also attacked PM Modi and said that such a step at the time of elections has created doubt about the 'intention and policy' of the government. She also attacked the then Congress government by saying that the previous Uttar Pradesh government under her regime had given new dimension to development with Taj International Airport and Ganga Expressway, but the then Congress government at the Centre created obstacles. Everyone seems to be blaming each other as we head towards the assembly elections and the Jewar Airport inauguration is suddenly been seen as a political move.
Meanwhile Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav attacked BJP saying, what is being built today (referring to the Jewar airport), will be put on sale tomorrow. He also alleged that the BJP's refusal to his government's proposal to build an airport in Firozabad cost the region a share in glory with Jewar International Airport. However, the ministers of the Narendra Modi government are regularly visiting the state and interacting with the people through the foundation stone laying ceremonies and inauguration of various projects.
Largest airports around the world
King Fahd International Airport (KFIA), located in Dammam, the capital city of Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia occupying about 776km² of area, is the largest airport in the world. KFIA has two parallel runways capable of accommodating larger aircraft including Airbus A340-600 and Boeing 747-400. In 2009, the airport had passenger traffic of 4.1 million and handled cargo of 82,944t. The aircraft movements recorded during the year were 41,079.
Denver International Airport, often referred to as DIA occupies about 136 km² of area and is the second largest airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport. Runway 16R/34L is the longest public use runway in the United States. The airport is located in northeastern Denver, Colorado, and is operated by the City & County of Denver Department of Aviation.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport occupies 69.6 square kilometers and is the third largest airport in the world. It is located between Fort Worth and Dallas. It has five terminals but can accommodate eight additional terminals.
Orlando International Airport occupies 53.8 square kilometers and started operating in 1942 as a US Army Airforce facility. However, airline flights began using the facility in 1961 after the US and the City of Orland reached an agreement on its use.
After that comes the Noida International Airport which occupies 51 square kilometers and is fifth on the list.
Future course of action
The Jewar airport will be developed in four phases over the next 30 years. As per initial calculations, phase 1 will witness an approximate traffic of 12 million passengers per annum, which is expected to increase to 70 million passengers per annum by the end of phase 4. The cost of the Jewar airport from the first phase is set to increase from Rs 4,588 crore to Rs 29,560 crore.
Presently, routes leading to the airport include Main West Access, Yamuna Expressway Interchange, a service road, and a secondary access through North Road. Access through an Eastern route and a link between North Road and Jewar-Khurja Road have been proposed. As per the agreement, the first phase of the project, costing Rs 5,730 crore as per development plan, will have to be completed within 1095 days from the appointed date which will be September 29, 2024.
The Noida International Airport is another remarkable achievement of the BJP government adding to what has previously been done by the centre. It will not only add to the country’s pride abroad but will be beneficial in many other ways too.