AAI persists with northeast development strategy

08 August 2017
Guwahati Airport in northeast India is being expanded, as operator AAI aims to develop regional air connectivity. Source: Neelam Mathews

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has selected the small airport in Guwahati, northeast India, to be upgraded into a regional hub serving Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

These five countries all lie within a flying time of 45-60 minutes from Guwahati. The airport (also known as Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport) is already the busiest in northeast India but it requires “robust infrastructure” to serve destinations in Southeast Asia and the rest of India, AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said on 1 August during a conference on strengthening northeast Indian aviation connectivity, held in Guwahati.

The AAI appointed US-based AECOM as project management consultant for the Guwahati development programme. The AECOM design for a new USD172 million, 77,500 m² passenger terminal has been approved; Mohapatra described it as a “grand terminal with an emphasis on state-of-the-art equipment”.

DK Kamra, AAI regional executive director, told Jane’s that construction tenders will be released soon for local companies. Completion of the new terminal is planned for 2020. The project also includes a parallel taxiway; two hangars for narrowbody aircraft; terminal equipment (CUSS and CUTE) from SITA; and Cat I ILS equipment from Leonardo. “The airports in the region must look at installing Cat I operations,” said HS Khola, a former chief of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

According to IATA, India is the fourth largest national aviation market in the world behind the United States, China, and Japan – but it risks becoming a victim of its success unless infrastructure development keeps pace with traffic growth.

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