With UP assembly elections approaching, central and UP government is pushing for early clearance of the airport apart from having international operations at Agra Airport and is also taking the groundwork for NCR’s second airport in Greater Noida’s Jewar district to the next level. The next step in the clearance procedure is the site approval and the state government has been asked by the ministry to submit location maps. Once the detailed project report is prepared and submitted by the state government, the aviation ministry will sanction it following which the project will be completed. With completion, it is meant that the land will be acquired and the bidding of the project will be done.
Aviation secretary, R.N Choube informed that the construction won’t need amending the ‘150km rule’. According to the rule, no airport can be built near to the existing one until the latter’s capability falls short of satisfying the demands of its catchment area. The fear of this rule that was blocking the development path for NCR in getting a second airport is that the airport operator of the present facility (GMR Group for IGI Airport) will have the right of first refusal (ROFR). As per ROFR, the GMR-backed Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd or DIAL has the right to take the highest bid if its own bid is within 10% of the same. Contradictory to this one, ROFR is different in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. Moreover, the present airport in Delhi still has the scope for a lot of enlargement such as the laying of the fourth runway, the building of a new terminal and extension of the current Terminal 1.
The Aviation secretary has met with the UP chief secretary regarding the pushing of international operations at Agra Airport and has given it s green signal. Since the assembly elections are scheduled in early next year, the announcements of both the project are expected to be made before the Election Commission declares polling dates as any such judgment will be forbidden under the code of conduct.