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Aerodrome India 2012 focuses on getting Tier-II and III cities on the aviation map

Mumbai. Indian civil aviation has witnessed astonishing transformation through the eleventh Five Year Plan. New terminals and major infrastructure upgrades are ongoing or have been recently completed at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai and many smaller cities. Moreover, recent aviation policy changes have been designed to facilitate rapid growth, including enhanced participation by foreign investors.

All stake holders converged at Aerodrome India 2012 to brainstorm on airport infrastructure and security, to network with Airport authorities and key-decision makers of the aviation industry. Aerodrome India 2012, with its aim to provide a platform for manufacturers of hardware, consultants and service providers related to airport infrastructure, security and aircraft maintenance to interact / network with a core critical audience comprising of key decision makers of regulatory boards, civil aviation authorities & airport management, concluded on a positive note despite the gloomy scenario.

With Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai being one of the busiest airports in India, the need to upgrade infrastructure in Mumbai to match the growth in passengers in the future is exceedingly important – this was indicated by Gordon Griffiths, Saxenaassistant director, IATA, Singapore, during the inaugural session of Aerodrome India 2012.

Commenting on the need of the proposed airport at Navi Mumbai, Griffiths said, “The upgradation and extension of the airport at Mumbai was difficult as the work had to be done along with day to day operations. However, it was successfully done. Given the annual growth rate of passengers in Mumbai, time is pressing for Navi Mumbai (the airport should be developed with urgency.)” He also emphasised that the development of the airport was crucial as congestion at the existing international airport will continue to prevail. The proposed international airport at Navi Mumbai is expected to handle 40 million passengers by 2030.

  1. K. Chaukiyal, Member, Operations, Airport Authority of India (AAI) said that the since 72 per cent of the traffic is handled by six major airports in India, it is time to shift the focus on tier 2 and 3 cities. He said, “90 per cent of Indian Airports are making losses. We need both the Central and the State governments to participate in developing airports, at least till the time the traffic picks up.” Of the total 60 non-metro airports in the country, the AAI has completed 35 airports.

Discussing the investments made by HAL at Ojhar airport and the long waiting time, overcrowded cargo hubs are some of the apt adjectives that describe the plight of the major metropolitan airports of India today. Removing such inefficiencies demand alternate cargo nodes that not only decongest the major hubs, but also prove to be cost-efficient for the ultimate customer… filling this void is the recently developed Ojhar air cargo hub at Nashik. PV Deshmukh, MD – MIG, HAL, says, “Ojhar airport is extremely well equipped and capable of handling AN-124, which is the heaviest aircraft in the world. We have invested a lot to upgrade the existing infrastructure, like creating additional parking space, enhancing the Fire Category from CAT V to CAT X, which, as per ICAO standard for airports, is the maximum fire category that any airport has, apart from offering medical facilities, etc., thus making Ojhar a desired destination for air cargo services.”

Air traffic control systems, airfield lighting, baggage handling, baggage management and tracking, data processing hardware, ground support equipment and services, information technology and software were projected to the business fraternity.

Navigation aids, passenger guidance systems, passenger handling, passenger information technology, parking, cargo, cargo management, conveying equipment, loading systems, mobile cargo handling systems were also a part of the exhibition.

Special attention needs to be given to the speedy handling of cargo and reducing its dwell time. The objective will be to reduce dwell time of exports from the present level of 4 days to 12 hours, and of imports for the present level of 4 weeks to 24 hours to bring India in line with internationally achieved norms. Cargo clearance will be on 24-hour basis. And infrastructure relating to cargo handling like satellite freight cities with multimodal transport, cargo terminals, cold storage, automatic storage and retrieval systems have to set up.

The support & involvement of the entire industry provides the ideal platform for the manufacturers, suppliers, service providers to network, interact & benefit from the business potential the growing Indian airport sector in India. Terminal 3 – the world’s sixth largest passenger terminal building recently opened as part of a massive, ongoing expansion plan at Delhi Airport.

The aviation fraternity gathered at the event discussed the up gradation and modernisation of Chennai and Kolkata airports and the major ongoing expansion / up-gradation of CSI Airport in Mumbai.

Construction of 12 Greenfield airports in different parts of India which includes two projects at Durgapur in West Bengal and Ludhiana in Punjab and development of Chandrapur, Amravati, Jalgaon, Dhule, Phaltan, Karad and Solapur airports by Maharashtra Airport Development Company Ltd. apart from developing Shirdi, Solapur, Amravati, Gadchiroli, Rajgurunagar airports are attempts made by the government to link smaller towns and make environment friendly airports.

Aerodrome India 2012 focuses on getting Tier-II and III cities on the aviation map-1Ravi Radhakrishnan, GM-Business Development, Reliance Infrastructure, said a non-metro airport has traffic of less than 300,000 passengers per annum and the longer breakeven periods made it unattractive for private investors.

“I believe the way forward is close coordination with airlines, both scheduled and charter, along with airport industrial parks for Reliance Airport Developers (RADL’s) five airports,” he said. Development of Yavatmal, Nanded, Osmanabad, Latur and Baramati Airports in Maharashtra by Reliance Airports, new Jaipur Airport being developed by Rajasthan Aviation Infrastructure (India) P. Ltd., development of Tezu Airport in Arunachal Pradesh and development of Hassan, Shimoga, Gulbarga, Bijapur, Bellary, Hubli, Belguam, Karwar and Bidar Airports in Karnataka, indicated the success story of private and public-private partnerships in the sector.

Umesh Kumar Baveja, founder and chairman of Regional Airports Holding International, said, “We aim to encourage the demand for air travel between tier-II and tier-III cities. The government does not have enough funds to build, develop and maintain airports at all regional hubs and this is where this model would boost the sector. We will build the airports at a budget of about 40 million USD each.

Speakers emphasised that mechanised transportation of cargo, computerisation and automation needed to be set nup on top priority basis. Such facilities have to come up at smaller places too. The Electronic Data Interchange systems will be developed and linked amongst all stake-holders in the trade.

© India Strategic