The upcoming Jewar airport in Greater Noida is likely to have eight runways and it will be double the size of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, which is likely to reach a saturation point by 2024.
The proposal, if approved and once completed, will make the Jewar airport one of the biggest in the world. It will be counted along with O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, US, which is spread over 7,200 acres and has seven active runways, according to the airport’s website.
The Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL) is likely to prepare a proposal that seeks to expand the Noida international greenfield airport project at Jewar from six runways to eight. The proposal will be sent to the state government only after making an assessment of the land being acquired for the project, coming up along the 165km Yamuna Expressway.
Once the land is acquired for phase 1 of the project, NIAL will send the proposal for eight runways to the Uttar Pradesh government for approval. The move comes after UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath directed officials to expand the existing project to eight runways.
The UP government had, on October 30, 2018, notified the acquisition of 1239.14 hectares for the development of the airport under the Section 11 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
The administration needs to acquire 1239.94 hectares from 3,000 farmers in the first phase. On the whole, the government requires 5,000 hectares for this project, when the airport will be developed to its full capacity.
“The chief minister has given a green signal for eight runways. But we will prepare our proposal on the additional runways only after 1239.94 acres are acquired for the initial two runways. Once the land assessment is done, we will prepare a proposal the additional two runways for requisite approvals from the state government so that we can take this proposal forward,” Arun Vir Singh chief executive officer of the YEIDA.
According to aviation experts, if the land is available, it makes sense to plan for the next 30 to 40 years, since getting land for infrastructure projects will be difficult in the future.
“It is no brainer that cities such as Delhi and Mumbai need three airports to cater to the growing air traffic demand. The Delhi airport cannot be expanded beyond a point and when Jewar is being developed, it makes sense to plan till 2050 at least. The civil aviation ministry, itself, has come out with a Vision 2040 and it has said Delhi will need three airports,” an airport official, requesting anonymity, said.
With passenger traffic expected to double in the next six to seven years, the Delhi airport will undergo major infrastructure changes to handle 109 million passengers every year. In the next five years, apart from a new terminal building and a new runway, a dedicated Metro network to connect the two terminals is also planned. The Delhi airport will soon have four runways and will be able to handle up to 130 million passengers a year.
“The national capital with 66 million passengers in fiscal 2018-19 is now the seventh largest airport in Asia. It will see a significant growth when its fourth runway and fourth terminal are commissioned in three to four years,” aviation ministry had said in its Vision 2040 report.
The estimated budget for the Jewar airport project is between ₹15,000 crore and ₹20,000 crore. The project is expected to be operational by 2022-2023.
“This airport will start operations by 2022-23 with two runways. We have already issued tenders to hire a developer, who will develop the two-runway airport project. After the state government’s green signal, we have directed our consultant PwC to prepare a techno-economic feasibility report (TEFR) of the additional two runways. The PwC has started working on the ground for collecting land details and finishing other formalities related to seeking environment clearances,” Singh said.
Initially, the state government wanted to construct a four-runway airport. In May, it decided to make it six runways and, subsequently, PwC started its job on the TEFR.
When Adityanath visited Greater Noida on June 14 to review progress on infrastructure projects, he directed that the project be expanded to eight runways.
“It will become the country’s biggest airport like no other airport in India has eight runways at present. The Jewar airport, once complete, will also become one of the biggest airports in the world,” Singh said.
The government expects the Jewar airport to be operational in the next five to six years and cater to 30-50 million passengers per year over the next 10-15 years.
The Delhi airport is spread over an area of 2,066 hectares and is projected to reach its full capacity by 2023-24. The Delhi airport currently handles around 70 million passengers per annum, which is likely to be doubled by 2025.