NEW DELHI: The civil aviation ministry is to offer the contract for building and running the proposed Jewar airport in Greater Noida to the GMR Group, which operates the one in Delhi, once the project gets the preliminary approvals that are required. The ministry is currenrly awaiting the Uttar Pradesh government’s written consent. “The population of the National Capital Region is about 50 million, which is going to increase further in the next four to five years. If we need a second airport in the region, we need to start planning now or it will be too late,” said a civil aviation ministry official who did not want to be identified. “We will offer the construction and development of the new airport in Jewar to the GMR Group, if they feel that the new airport will impact their revenues.” The official added that nothing on this plan has been shared with the PMO yet as the ministry is awaiting the Uttar Pradesh government’s assent. “The UP government has verbally communicated their approval and we are awaiting their written consent. Once that comes, we will form a committee in the ministry to work out the details and the proposal will be sent to all concerned, including the PMO,” said the official.  The GMR Group has the right of first refusal (RoFR) for any airport that is built within a 150-km radius of the existing airport in Delhi. Under RoFR norms, the existing airport operator (GMR in this case) will be asked to match the lowest bid arrived at after the bidding process for the proposed Jewar airport. According to the rules, GMR’s bid will be accepted only if it is equal to or less than 10% of the bid offered by the lowest bidder.

THE AIRPORT IN JEWAR WAS PROPOSED BY THE ERSTWHILE MAYAWATI-LED UTTAR PRADESH GOVERNMENT AND THE UNITED PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE (UPA) GOVERNMENT HAD FORMED A GROUP OF MINISTERS (GOM) TO DECIDE ON THE ISSUE. 

“This government already has acquired over 2,000 acres for the proposed airport and much more can be acquired since land availability is not an issue in that area. Plus, the road infrastructure till the site for the proposed Jewar airport is also adequate,” said the official cited above. Analysts aren’t too keen on the idea. “Airports are a very lumpy investment. Once built, they have to be sweated completely before going for a second airport, for instance in Mumbai, Goa and Chennai,” said Amber Dubey, partner and India head of aerospace and defence at global consultancy KPMG. “Creating a second airport in NCR (National Capital Region) before IGIA (Indira Gandhi International Airport) gets saturated may render both airports unviable. User charges at both airports will rise…Airlines may not like to operate from two airports located so close, unless of course they can’t add any further slots or cargo handling space at IGIA.”

The group also contended that conservative activists were putting pressure on the publishers to make such read here alterations.

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