India and New Zealand have signed a bilateral air services agreement which will enable airlines to operate direct flights between the two countries. Under the agreement, New Zealand will be able to code-share flights to seven Indian cities – Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi, while India can operate code-sharing flights to any point in New Zealand. Further, as per the agreement, India can have Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and any two places in Australia as intermediate points.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has formulated a plan to invest Rs 150.7 billion over the next four years for the development and upgradation of airports. As per the proposal, new terminal buildings will be constructed at airports in Chennai, Guwahati, Patna, Srinagar, Jammu, Lucknow and others, while runway upgradation will be undertaken at the Jaipur, Amritsar, Raipur and Ahmedabad airports. Of the total Rs 150.7 billion, Rs 103 billion will be invested in upgradation and expansion projects at 20 airports, Rs 7.5 billion will be spent on upgradation of five regional airports, Rs 12 billion on the revival of 15 non-scheduled airports, Rs 1.2 billion for the installation of solar power plants at various airports, and Rs 27 billion on upgradation works which are currently under implementation.
Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has increased the solar power generating capacity at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, from the existing 2.14 MW to 7.84 MW. The green initiative will enable the airport to save Rs 120 million annually. At present, internally generated power constitutes 5 per cent of the airport’s total power consumption. DIAL plans to increase the generation capacity of the solar plant further to 20 MW by 2020.
AAI has terminated discussions with the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports, as the latter’s proposal was not commercially viable. In November 2015, AAI had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, which had nominated Changi Airport for the proposed project. A discussion was held between AAI and Changi Airport wherein the agencies did not reach mutually agreeable terms. AAI will issue fresh bids to select entities for O&M of the two airports.
The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has invited request for proposal bids from qualified bidders for the development of the Navi Mumbai International Airport Project Phase I. The three qualified bidders are GMR Infrastructure, Mumbai International Airport Limited and MIA Infrastructure. While at present, the bidders can submit bids by early September 2016, the submission date is likely to be extended by a month. The project is expected to be awarded by October 2016. CIDCO received approval for issuing RfPs in April 2016.
AAI and the Indian Air Force have granted approval for the Srinagar airport expansion project. The project includes the expansion of the international departure side of the terminal area to around 34,000 square metres from the existing 16,700 square metres, as well as expansion of the runway. Meanwhile, the process for the appointment of a consultant for the project is in progress.
The 3,050 metre long runway under Phase I of the Kannur international airport project has been completed. Further, about 68 per cent work has been completed on the integrated terminal, with roofing works in progress. About 75 per cent of the work on the air traffic control tower has also been completed, with works on ancillary buildings in progress. Tenders for X-ray machines will be floated soon. Phase II of the expansion project envisages the expansion of the runway to 3,400 metres after the acquisition of 100 acres of land. Going forward, the runway will be further increased to 4,000 metres to enhance safety.
Air India has entered into a code-share agreement with European regional airline Flybe to enhance connectivity between India and Europe. While the code-share arrangement will enable Flybe travellers to book flights from Birmingham, Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow to Delhi, Air India will place its marketing code on these Flybe flights. Bookings on code-share flights will be open via the Air India portal as well as through local travel agents from May 10, 2016, for travel from June 1, 2016 onwards.