MUMBAI: Infrastructure major GMR group on Friday unveiled its plans to modernise and develop Nagpur Airport following a ruling by the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court.
As part of the plan, Delhi-based GMR Group, which currently runs Delhi and Hyderabad International Airports, is looking to develop Nagpur's Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport in a phased manner with an ultimate capacity of around 30 million passengers annually, representing a capacity increase of over 1,000 per cent over the coming years, a release said.
It said that the existing facilities at Nagpur Airport have been operating close to the maximum capacity. The airport handled a total of about 3 million passengers and 9,500 metric tonnes of cargo in FY20, as per GMR.
Besides running Delhi and Hyderabad airports, GMR is also constructing greenfield airports in Goa and Bhogapuram in Andhra Pradesh.
In October 2018, the group emerged as the highest bidder for development, operation and management of Nagpur International Airport on a public private partnership (PPP) basis in the tender process conducted by MIHAN India Ltd.
Subsequently, the letter of award (LoA) was issued to GMR in March 2019. However, Maharashtra government decided to cancel the tender process in March 2020 with MIHAN issuing a letter, annulling the bid process.
It was challenged by the GMR in Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, which on August 18 quashed the March 2020 communication, calling it "arbitrary and unfair". "Consequent to the ruling by the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, GMR is pleased to take up the responsibility of developing and transforming Nagpur Airport into a world-class facility," GMR said in a release on Friday.
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, it said.
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, GMR said.
"...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," said SGK Kishore, Executive Director South and Chief Innovation Officer, GMR Group.
The company said it 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.
Over the longer term, GMR will 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 at the city, it stated.
Nagpur is also well placed to be developed into a major cargo hub, it said, adding that leveraging the city's strategic geographic location, strong multi-modal connectivity with major economic centres across the country and supportive government and policy environment.
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, GMR said.
GMR said its overall development strategy for the Nagpur Airport will be fully aligned with the vision of the Maharashtra government and that of MIHAN and lead towards the creation of a fully integrated aviation hub consisting of a modern international airport, world-class cargo and logistics facilities and a robust aviation support ecosystem including Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) units.