Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate today in the Bhoomi Pujan and the foundation-laying ceremony for the Noida International Airport (NIA)—a prestigious greenfield project which will further open up the National Capital Region (NCR) to the rest of the world. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will also be present at the event in Jewar, Gautam Buddh Nagar. After the inauguration of Kushinagar airport and the Poorvanchal expressway, this event will crown a series of mega projects that are taking root in the state.
The NIA project will be completed by 2024, according to current plans. In turn, the airport will play a crucial role in boosting rapid industrial growth of the region, once viewed as one of the most under-developed in Uttar Pradesh.
With this, UP will become the only state in India with five international airports. At present, the state has eight operational airports. These are: Agra, Gorakhpur, Hindon, Kushinagar, Kanpur, Lucknow, Prayagraj and Varanasi.
Besides , the state is getting 13 additional airports and seven airstrips in due course. The work on the airport in Ayodhya is in full swing and air operations are expected to commence early next year. The UP Government has claimed that, “The unique distinction of Uttar Pradesh in providing unmatched air connectivity in the country is in keeping with the government's commitment to ensure uninterrupted multi-modal connectivity on land, railways, water and air.”
The NIA—a Rs 30,000 crore Public-private partnership (PPP) project—is spread over more than 1300 hectares of land. It will be India's largest and second largest airport in Asia, after the Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK). At present, Indira Gandhi international Airport (IGIA) is the largest in the country.
Consistent and long-term growth in the Indian Aviation sector and the paucity of required airside infrastructure coming on-line, many airports struggle to tackle congestion. But this will not be a problem at the Jewar airport, as it will have a capacity to handle more than 1.2 crore air travellers a year after the completion of the first phase of the planned four phases. It is slated to provide all user-friendly services, like - seamless and fast transfer processes for passengers.
Jewar airport will give impetus to other infrastructural developments. It will dock with the Dedicated Freight corridor, Metro Extension from Noida to NIA, link with the proposed Delhi-Varanasi High-Speed Rail line and connect with the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway.
The massive airport will have 186 aircraft stands, a VVIP terminal, an airport hotel, firefighting building, a public transportation centre and a state-of-art MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhauling) service facility. This will keep maintenance activities within reach and reduce the reaction time for maintenance crew enabling aircraft availability for undertaking more commitments.
The development of the NIA is in line with the vision of Prime Minister Modi towards enhancing connectivity and creating a future-ready aviation sector for multidirectional growth. However, the challenge will be to ensure standards are maintained that continue to comply with the global benchmarks as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation as well as International Air Transport Association. All eyes are on Jewar Airport to see a dream project taking shape.
(Dr. DK Pandey is Professor (Aviation) at Galgotias University. He retired from the Indian Air Force as Group Captain. The views expressed are personal)