14 November 2015

The Economic Times (Delhi)

Bhiwadi Pips Jewar to House Second Airport in Delhi NCR

DIVERSE VIEWS Analysts feel it is better to have an airport in the Noida region than in Bhiwadi

Bhiwadi in BJP-ruled Rajasthan is set to house the second airport in the National Capital Region of Delhi, following the civil aviation ministry's approval to the project on Thursday that dashed all hopes of Jewar in Greater Noida where the erstwhile Mayawati government in Uttar Pra desh had proposed an airport years ago.The project will require waiver of the clause that bars an airport to come up within 150 km radius of the existing Delhi airport, which has been built and is being operated by GMR Infrastructure-led consortium Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL).

“We will provide all approvals required for the airport pro ject,“ said a senior ministry official, who did not want to be identified. As per the norms, GMR Infrastructure will have the right of first refusal for the Bhiwadi project, the official said.The Bengaluru-based company will be asked to match the lowest bid arrived at after the bidding process for the proposed airport. The airport in Bhiwadi, which will be developed by the DelhiMumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), has been approved after a detailed study of traffic projections for the Delhi airport, officials said. The existing airport will achieve 100 million capacity between 2021 and 2023, thereby reaching saturation point, they said.

“If you want a second airport by then, we need to start now,“ said the official.Analysts, however, said that it makes more sense to have an airport in the Noida region than to have it in Bhiwadi. “The government will have to resolve a lot of issues and take the operator of the current Delhi airport on board to ensure that the project sees the light of the day,“ said Sanjay Sethi, managing director and CEO of Nestor Consulting, an infrastructure advisory firm. The official cited earlier said that the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh has not given the goahead to the Jewar airport project, which was originally conceived and proposed by the erstwhile Mayawatiled Bahujan Samaj Party government.The then United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre had formed a group of ministers to decide on the issue, while the Mayawati government had acquired over 2,000 acres for the proposed airport.

“While Rajasthan was on board for the airport in Bhiwadi, the UP government has not yet approved the project.It can, however, be looked at in the future,“ said the official. Nestor Consulting's Sethi said that the government should focus more on clearing pending projects in the country instead of announcing new projects. “It is good that the government is announcing new projects but the government should also work towards expediting projects like Navi Mumbai that are stuck for so long now and require immediate attention,“ he said.

India, South Korea to Allow 19 Flights Per Week, up From 6

New Delhi: India and South Korea have agreed to allow airlines on both sides to operate 19 flights per week between the two countries instead of six permitted earlier, in view of the growing traffic and bilateral trade, the civil aviation ministry announced on Friday .

The two countries had last month signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance bilateral air service cooperation. Apart from the increase in seats, India and South Korea also agreed to give the goahead to the carriers for more destinations. While India has allowed South Korean carriers to start flights from two additional destinations, Chennai and Bengaluru, Indian carriers can now connect Seattle in the United States and Vancouver in Canada via South Korea. Earlier, Indian carriers could operate connecting flights only to Tokyo and Los Angeles via South Korea. The increase in bilateral entitlements with South Korea was agreed upon after the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a press release issued by the ministry .“Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paid a state visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) on the invitation of Park Geun-hye, President of the Republic of Korea on May 18-19, 2015. The two leaders welcomed and encouraged the ongoing efforts,“ the ministry said. -Our Bureau