GMR says will transform Nagpur Airport into a modern aviation hub

GMR says will transform Nagpur Airport into a modern aviation hub

New Delhi, August 20, 2021

Consequent to the ruling by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, GMR Airports Limited (GAL) today said that it would take up the responsibility of developing and transforming Nagpur Airport into a world-class facility.

Nagpur city is the biggest economic hub in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and the city’s strategic location in Central India makes it well-suited to act as a major aviation gateway for passengers and cargo traffic, a press release from GMR said.

The existing facilities at Nagpur Airport have been operating close to the maximum capacity, handling a total of about 3 million passengers and 9,500 metric tonnes of cargo during the financial year 2019-20.

The statement came two days after the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday quashed communication issued in March 2020 to GAL, a part of infrastructure major GMR Group, by MIHAN India Ltd, a joint venture between Maharashtra Airport Development Company and the Airports Authority of India (AAI), cancelling the award granted to GAL for upgradation and operation of the Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport at Nagpur. The court also ordered MIHAN to execute a concession agreement with the GMR Group in six weeks.

GMR said that it would leverage its experience in public-private partnerships (PPP) and extensive expertise in taking over legacy airport assets and developing them into modern aviation landmarks to develop Nagpur Airport in phases to an ultimate capacity of around 30 million passengers annually, representing a capacity increase of over 1000% over the coming years.

The first phase of development will see GMR initiate a complete transformation of the airport over a 4-year period, including the construction of a new greenfield integrated terminal with initial capacity of handling 4 million passengers per annum, associated aeronautical infrastructure including aprons and taxiways, new car park and approach road and a new cargo terminal. At the same time, the existing passenger terminal will also be refurbished to enhance its capacity, improve passenger facilities, introduce modern technology and upgrade the overall ambience to cater to the traffic and operational requirements in the interim period, it said.

"GMR will focus on replicating its successful upgrade efforts in Delhi Airport in India and Cebu-Mactan in Philippines to take Nagpur Airport into the next level. Delhi, which was ranked 101 in the world in the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey when the facility was handed over to GMR in 2006, rose to reach world #2 rank by the year 2011 and further improved to World #1 by the year 2014 on the back of investments and improvements made by GMR. Under GMR-led management, a landmark new Terminal 2 was created at Cebu using unique local architecture and boasting of the first roof structure in Asia to be completely made from environmentally friendly glued laminated timber. The facility has since gone on to win many accolades for passenger experience and design excellence," the release said.

The company said that, over the longer term, it would invest further in the Nagpur Airport project including the expansion of terminal handling capacity, development of a second runway and a new Air Traffic Control Tower (ATC) to boost capacity to levels that could potentially serve the needs for the next 2-3 decades of growth in the Orange City.

"Nagpur is also well placed to be developed into a major cargo hub, leveraging the city’s strategic geographic location, strong multi-modal connectivity with major economic centres across the country and supportive government and policy environment. GMR has a track record of incubating and growing strong air cargo businesses at its airports, with Delhi Airport cargo traffic growing 263% from 380,000 metric tonnes to over 1,000,000 metric tonnes between 2006-2019, and that of Hyderabad Airport growing by 284% from around 51,000 MT in 2008 to 145,000 MT between 2008-2019 under GMR management. Particularly at Hyderabad, GMR’s creation of a dedicated ‘Pharma Zone’ facility to cater to exports of pharmaceutical cargo has given a major boost to the growth of pharma industry in and around Hyderabad, with the region today having emerged as the biggest hub for pharma exports from India. Nagpur, with its growing base of pharma manufacturing can also potentially benefit from creation of world-class air cargo facilities," it said.

For Nagpur Airport, beginning with an initial capacity of 20,000 MT annually, GMR will pursue a cargo development vision modelled on its own experience at Delhi and Hyderabad as well as that of major global air cargo hubs such as Memphis, Paris, Hong Kong and Dubai to maximise the city’s growth potential, the release said.

"In the recent years, GMR’s airports have been renowned for leveraging technology to deliver better efficiencies and passenger experience, being the first in India to roll out initiatives such as a fully integrated Airport Operations Control Centre (AOCC) for centralised operation and management of airport resources, first multi-level inline baggage screening system for seamless check-in experience, first fully paperless E-boarding and Face Recognition based passenger processing. GMR intends to roll out similar technology solutions already tried and tested at its portfolio airports at Delhi and Hyderabad to Nagpur to ensure customer satisfaction and enhanced passenger experience," the release said.

"GMR’s overall development strategy for the Nagpur Airport will be fully aligned with the vision of the State Government of Maharashtra and that of MIHAN and lead towards the creation of a fully integrated aviation hub consisting of a modern international airport, world-class cargo & logistics facilities and a robust aviation support ecosystem including Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) units.

"GMR’s proven track record in creating national assets, supporting the creation of employment opportunities and economic activities on a large scale. This fact is underscored by a study carried out by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) which assessed the socio-economic impact of Delhi Airport operations in FY2015 and found that it amounted to 17.89% value added as percentage of total GSDP of Delhi. A similar study conducted at Hyderabad in FY2010 found that the airport contributed 1.5% of the GSDP of the undivided Andhra Pradesh state at the time. GMR is confident of being able to create a new engine of growth for the state of Maharashtra, particularly for the Vidarbha region through its investments in the Nagpur Airport project.

"In 2020, GMR Airports partnered with global airports sector leader Airports de Paris (ADP) of France to form the world’s leading network of airports with ADP taking a 49% stake in GMR Airports. This strategic partnership has further cemented GMR’s place at the top of the Indian airports sector with truly unparalleled and global level expertise, experience and human capital in airport development and operations.

"With the GMR-ADP combine at the helm, Nagpur Airport is now set to benefit from the same turnaround and transformational focus that the company has brought to its projects including Delhi Airport and the numerous projects executed around the world by ADP," the release said.

“Right from the first wave of private participation in development of Indian airports in the mid-2000s, GMR has led the way in transforming India’s aviation infrastructure into world-class assets. We are very pleased to announce today that we will develop a new Greenfield integrated terminal at Nagpur Airport with latest amenities and modern equipment on par with the best in the world. We are committed to giving the citizens of Nagpur a new global gateway befitting its status as the emerging economic hub of Central India, fully aligned with the developmental vision of the Government of Maharashtra and MIHAN” said SGK Kishore, Executive Director – South and Chief Innovation Officer, GMR Group.


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