India's Airports Poised for Further Development
- July 11, 2018, 8:30 AM
As India struggles with infrastructure issues related to congestion at airports hard-pressed to deal with air traffic growing at 16 percent per year, capacity needs to be developed through a blend of improved efficiency of present resources and investment in new infrastructure. Recognizing this, Mumbai-based Maharashtra Airport Authority Co. (MADC, Hall 2, Booth 2538) is scouting for new relationships for its ambitious plan to support airport development in the western state of India.
“We are here to showcase development of small airports and look for partners that create a value-add for a new unit we have created to improve regional connectivity from small airports in our state to other states,” said MADC marketing manager Atul Thakare. This is the newest initiative in India to support the federal government’s successful Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) that aims to connect underserved, unserved, and remote airports through a subsidy and tax concessions. The scheme is also called Udan, which translates to “let the common man fly.”
“MADC is the nodal agency, and many of our airports have been included in the RCS," said Thakare. "We are offering them a consultancy and have already had a couple of rounds of meetings with airlines, giving them a marketing case to fly probable routes to those airports." MADC was formed 16 years ago to develop a multi-modal international hub airport at Nagpur and aviation infrastructure in the state for regional air connectivity. Of the present 10 airports, work is underway for upgrades, a new greenfield airport, and expansion at some of the airports. In Nagpur, which is also a special economic zone that offers tax benefits, there is a General Electric testing facility and a Boeing MRO facility. Thakare said a request for proposal would soon be released for upgrades of the airport. Land acquisition for a greenfield airport near Pune at Purandar has begun, following completion of a feasibility study by Germany’s Dorche.
New airports will undoubtedly be required. Several cities will require second airports, said think-tank Center for Asia Pacific (CAPA) in its report, Resetting India’s Airport Planning & Execution Framework, released in June. Given the timelines associated with airport development, greenfield airports are not the solution to the capacity challenge that will be faced over the next five to seven years, the report noted. Instead, near-term challenges will be most effectively addressed by increasing the productivity of existing assets. According to the report, “Mumbai Airport is an example of what is possible, for example, when the airport operator and the [airport authority and ANSP] collaborate to enhance airside efficiency. The airport has a declared handling capacity of 48 hourly aircraft movements (and regularly handles more than 50) on what is effectively a single-runway operation.”