Nagpur: Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airpot (BAIA) at Nagpur is very much on the path of a major revamp and modernisation in order to enhance the air connectivity across Maharashtra and Central India. To take the plan towards implementation the authorities would soon invite quotations for the same. The plan includes expansion of taking capacity of the airport along with construction of an additional runway.
An official close to the development informed that the project will be undertaken on a public private partnership (PPP) basis on design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis. He added that a decision in this regard was taken in a recent meeting of the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) – a special purpose company to develop Multi-modal International Hub Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) and Aviation Infrastructure in the state to provide the regional air connectivity.
The BAIA airport is considered among the top 20 busiest airports in the country. According to an estimate, the airport saw a movement of around 1,401,147 passengers and 13,330 aircraft in 2014. The airport also saw handling of around 6,063 tonnes of cargo. The recent development is expected to improve its traffic handling capacity.
The official said the decision to add another runway to the existing one would augment the capacity of the airport to handle passenger and cargo traffic. “One runway can be earmarked exclusively for the use of the Indian Air Force… now, there are restrictions on civilian flights. If a new runway is constructed, one can be kept exclusively for them,” he added, stating that the capacity augmentation would also help boost passenger traffic and exports from the units located in MIHAN and the larger region.
The project was estimated to cost around Rs 1,400 crore and would consist of a parallel runway, taxiway, passenger terminal building and new cargo terminal building.
“The existing terminal building is small. So, it will be expanded or a new one will be constructed,” the official said. “We will follow the PPP model which has been chosen for the proposed Greenfield Navi Mumbai International Airport…. since the operating income for the Nagpur airport will not be high, we will have to ensure that the non-operating income will be large. It is the first time this is being done in the Brownfield model,” he added.
The state Cabinet has recently consented to swap MIHAN land with the IAF to aid the airport’s expansion. This had already been approved by the Centre. Accordingly, 278.158 hectare of Air Force land will be transferred to MIHAN in lieu of the former getting 400 hectare of MIHAN land. The CRPF will also swap 2.30 hectare land for a parcel of the same size with MIHAN. The aviation industry insiders are of view that even though the decision for swapping which has been hanging for over a decade has been cleared by the state Cabinet, it will not make much sense till the IAF physically hands over the possession of the said land. This would practically happen only after its new bases gets ready for operation on the land handed over to them by MADC.