AviationFirst net-zero emissions airport to open in phases, backing ambitious plan for 84 new airports by 2025.

India flies up global radar with "game changer" airport

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When phase one launches in 2024, the new airport at Uttar Pradesh is expected to handle some 12 million passengers.
When phase one launches in 2024, the new airport at Uttar Pradesh is expected to handle some 12 million passengers. Photo Credit: Business Standard

The 25 November launch of Noida International Airport is touted to be a "game changer" in terms of scale and capacity, even as India declares ambitious plan for 84 new airports by 2025.

The new airport covers 1,300 hectares and will feature two passenger terminals.

Construction will take place over four phases, expected to complete some time between 2040-50. When phase one launches in 2024, it is expected to handle some 12 million passengers, and 70 million annually once fully operational.

Developed under a public-private partnership between Uttar Pradesh and Zurich Airport International AG, this also means design elements reflecting both local culture and Swiss efficiency. Think an airport forecourt inspired by Varanasi's iconic ghats, and stretched glass fibre fabric system used for the roof to shield people from harsh summer sun.

Plans also include planting 11,000 trees and a forest park, the latter put together using trees from the project site — in line with the new airport's plans to go green. Other initiatives include using zero-emission fuels, solar power and sustainable aviation fuel.

The airport will also feature an integrated multi-modal cargo hub; a first in India, and thereby boosting "commerce, connectivity and tourism" wrote India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a 24 November Twitter post.

"We are now waiting for the speedy construction of the airport, which will set the benchmark for a digital, sustainable and state-of-the-art-airport for the whole country,” said T S Dupare, CEO of Indian Oil Skytanking Limited, the appointed designer and operator for Noida Airport's fuel infrastructure.

India is targeting to have 220 airports by 2025.
India is targeting to have 220 airports by 2025. Photo Credit: Twitter/Narendra Modi

Airports are "great economic multipliers"

Noida International Airport will make Uttar Pradesh India's only state with five international airports, and serve to de-congest Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport. A planned link to Delhi-Varanasi High-Speed Rail will also mean only 21 minutes to journey from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh.

It will also support India's vision to boost aviation connectivity: increasing the current count of 136 airports to 220 by 2025, inclusive of heliport and water ports.

"If you look at what we have been able to achieve in the last 5-6 years from 2014-2019....the connectivity growth, civil aviation alone has (grown) 89%, and that helped us in jumping from the seventh position in terms of travel numbers to almost fourth position in 2019. And mind you, we will be jumping to the number one position in the next decade or so," the union minister told a virtual session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), according to a Business Standard report.

"Building a single airport acts as a great economic multiplier. Connectivity has become the driver of growth. Civil aviation is in its sunrise phase."

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