Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Hyderabad Airport @ Shamshabad Courtesy GMR

Last Monday I took the flight from the new Airport of Hyderabad located at Shamshabad. Hyderabad Airport is the first project to be completed amongst the running public private partnership projects in our country for modernization of airports. Bangalore Airport is also expected to be ready latest by second week of May.
True to the expectations, Hyderabad Airport is an absolute marvel. Its a terrific example of how successful a public private partnerships can be. Built by GMR Group, the Hyderabad airport located at Shamshabad got the clearance for commercial operations on the midnight of 23rd March 2008 with the first flight of Lufthansa arriving shortly. The new airport has led to the closure of 73 years old Begumpet Airport which was situated in the heart of city.
The new airport is close to 40 KM from any point in Hyderabad. HUDA is still in the process of building the required infrastructure in terms of expressway so as to ensure that the distance is covered in least possible time. The nearest point for the new airport is Chandryangutta X Roads from where the distance to airport is close to 15 KMs and there are clear sign boards and directions.
Infrastructure in the airport is truly world class and can be compared to the Dubai and Malaysian airports and probably the first of its kind in our country. A huge concourse each for the departure and arrival. Electronic baggage services akin to the international standards. Longest runway in the country in excess of 4.5 KM and capable of supporting the AIRBUS A380 as well. There are more tha 44 gates available for the passengers and different airlines together with LCD screens displaying the departure and arrival of flights at all times. The new airport, with world-class facilities, can initially handle 12 million passengers and 100,000 tonnes of cargo annually. The cost of the first phase of the project is Rs 2,478 crore. The Rs.25 billion airport with the longest runway in Southeast Asia has been built by GHIAL, a joint venture in which GMR Infrastructure Ltd holds 63 percent, Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad 11 percent, AAI 13 percent and the Andhra Pradesh government 13 percent.
Inspite of poor connectivity to the airport currently being served only by radio cabs, coaches and taxis, people have said that the airport is in comparison to Dubai and London. Significantly higher ground handling fees and user development fees were the main reason for the Airport to be operational from 14th of March which was its scheduled date.

Built by the China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong), it is the first airport in India to have no demarcation between international and domestic terminals, making passenger movement easier. It also has a unique airport village with commercial space where passengers can meet with their friends and relatives. The airport has a 70-metre-high Air Traffic Control (ATC), equipped with the state-of-the-art equipment, a world-class cargo terminal, 42 aircraft parking stands with 12 aero-bridges and 30 remote parking bays. It incorporates the novel ‘aerotropolis’ concept on the lines of Seoul, Munich and Hong Kong international airports that houses hotels, commercial centres, hospitals and residential quarters.
All in all, the new airport at Hyderabad, truly speaks of the Infrastructure which is coming up in India inspite of ever increasing stories of slowdown. Hyderabad airport sets a superb example for other airports to follow. Soon to be commissioned Bangalore airport is also expected to be on the similar lines. Lets hope GMR is able to garner its share of profit out of this project.