India To Take Long View Toward Airport Development

 - May 15, 2018, 2:33 PM

The Indian government has decided to take a longer-term view toward addressing its airport infrastructure needs, as domestic traffic growth reaches 18 percent a year. Finally recognizing the shortcomings of planning in three- to five-year increments, and often on an emergency basis, India endeavors now to plan for 15 to 20 years into the future, theoretically allowing for infrastructure development to keep pace with traffic growth, said minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha.

The government initiative known as Next Gen Airports for India centers on upgrading technology at airports to allow for 1 billion trips per year in the next 15 years, said Airports Authority of India chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra. According to Sinha, the country will invest $15 billion in airport infrastructure over the next five years.

India is also considering development of a new airport in Goa, a second airport for Delhi at Jewar, and Navi Mumbai, the second airport for Mumbai, where work has already started. Major initiatives announced this month include a more than $700 million expansion of Guwahati, Chennai, and Lucknow airports in the northeast, south, and northern India, respectively. The project management contract for the first two has gone to U.S.-based Aecom under the India-U.S. Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP), a bilateral public-private partnership between the U.S. Trade Development Agency (USTDA), the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and U.S. aviation companies. ACP provides a forum for communication between the government of India and U.S. public and private sector in India. The partners expect the new terminals to open by 2021.

U.S. companies have expressed interest in India’s airports plans. Recently, more than 250 U.S. and Indian public and private partners participated in the sixth biennial U.S.-India Aviation Summit, where U.S. companies signed approximately $300 million in commercial deals, mainly with AAI. They included Smiths Detection, which won a $50 million bid to install and integrate high-speed explosives-detection systems for hold-baggage screening at 11 sites across nine airports in India. The first group of machines will undergo installation in the second half of this year. Meanwhile, L3 Aviation Products' maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility in India received CAR 145 certification from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. It now stands as one of the first avionics manufacturers to establish an MRO facility in India to repair and sustain its avionics equipment for Indian aircraft. The DGCA approval authorizes the facility to repair products for Indian commercial aviation customers for flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders. Separately, Harris Corporation took responsibility for modernizing India’s air traffic management communications infrastructure under a 15-year, $141 million contract to serve as the prime contractor and systems integrator for AAI’s Futuristic Telecommunications Infrastructure Initiative.