The Rs24.78-billion ($601 million) new Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad is expected to spur growth in the booming technology hub.
The new international airport is coming up in Shamshabad, about 25 km from the city on the Hyderabad-Bangalore national highway. It incorporates the best from airports at Oslo, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and will be ready by year-end, becoming operational in March 2008.
Hundreds of workers are working round the clock to give final shape to the futuristic airport, which is expected to make Hyderabad a transit hub between Europe and South East Asia. Flight trials will begin in January and the first commercial flight is scheduled to take off in March, a month before the scheduled opening of its main competitor, the new international airport in Bangalore.
"About 78 per cent of the work is already complete, and all the civil work will be completed by year-end," promoter company GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd's (GHIAL) chief operating officer T Srinagesh told the media. Work on a seven-storied, 100,000-square-metre passenger terminal building being built by China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) is nearing completion.
The cargo building, 42 parking bays, the apron and fuel farm are also on schedule. The 70-metre-tall Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower is complete and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has already started installing its equipment. The ATC tower will be handed over to AAI by November or December, Srinagesh told reporters.
The airport will have 60 check-in-counters with common user terminal equipment (CUTE) and 16 self check-in kiosks. The 2,500-sq m complex will also have 12 contact boarding bridges, 45 immigration counters and extensive retail and shopping outlets.
Other special features include a fuel supply system on an open access basis, an airport village and a 308-room business hotel rooms near the passenger terminal building.
GHIAL is allowed to use 1,000 acres out total of 5,400 acres for commercial activities, and future plans include a luxury hotel, a convention centre, a railway station and shopping malls.
In its initial phase, the airport can handle 12 million passengers per annum (mppa) as against the 5.95 mppa capacity of the existing airport. It will also be able to ship more than 100,000 tonnes of cargo per annum, against the 45,000 tonnes handled by the existing facility. The ultimate capacity of the new airport is over 40 mppa and one million tonnes of cargo per annum.
The airport has a 4,260-metre-long runway, India's longest for civil aviation and Airbus super-jumbo A380 aircraft compatible. It is already complete, as is the equally long parallel taxiway that can also be used for emergency take-offs.