Zurich International Airport is here for the long haul and has no plans to partner with any other entity to manage or operate Noida International Airport, the latter’s chief executive Christoph Schnellmann said on Tuesday.
The airport’s first construction phase was on schedule and would be operational by September 2024, meeting the concession agreement deadline and allowing a capacity of 12 million passengers, it said. Ultimately, in phase 4, the airport’s capacity will increase to 70 million.
Schnellmann said future phases of airport development could be accelerated if air traffic grows faster than expected.
“After the opening of phase one, we are quite flexible. As we see traffic grow, we will trigger future growth phases of the airport. And it may well be that given these aircraft orders, given the expected growth, if it is more than estimated in 2019-20, we can accelerate future development phases,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
The concession agreement signed with the government of Uttar Pradesh states that the next phase of construction will start once 80 percent of the capacity of the previous phase has been used. Meanwhile, in February, Air India, which was acquired by the Tata group a year earlier, set a new record for the largest single-span aircraft purchase in history by ordering 470 aircraft, 250 from Airbus and 220 from Boeing. .
“We are excited about the aircraft orders. It is a confirmation that North India and NCR (National Capital Region) need more airports,” said Schnellmann.
Zurich Airport International won the bid to build and operate Noida International Airport in Jewar, some 70 km from the main Delhi region, in November 2019. The company outbid Delhi International Airport (DIAL), Adani Enterprises and Anchorage Infrastructure Investments Holdings to win the airport’s 40-year concession.
The first phase of construction of the airport was completed on schedule and would be operational by September 2024 (Photo: Deepak Patel)
According to Schnellmann, the duration required to complete the first phase of construction of the Noida airport was comparable to that of the inaugural phase of the Bangalore airport.
“We were one of the developers of the Bangalore airport, when it was a greenfield project in 2007-08. When it opened, it was more or less the same size and scale. The construction period there was also pretty comparable to what we’re doing here. I think it was 33 months for Bangalore airport. That is comparable,” he said.
In response to inquiries about possible airport management collaborations, he stated that Zurich International Airport had no intention of partnering with other entities. The company aims to manage the airport for the entire duration of the concession, which will run for the next 40 years. “We’re here for the long haul,” he said.
In the master plan, Noida airport has allocated 40 acres for MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) activities, it said.
“We are convinced that as our airport grows, there will be more space for MRO activities. There is great interest in the MRO space, especially as we see airlines in India continue to choose newer and larger aircraft,” he said.