New airport set to make Hyderabad a key hub

March 3rd, 2008 - 11:42 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, Mar 3 (IANS) The new international airport at Shamshabad near here is expected to make the Andhra Pradesh capital an international aviation hub like Dubai and Singapore. The city, with its geographical advantage and now a world-class airport, is set to attract many international airlines. British Airways and Gulf Air are already planning to launch flights this year.

“The airport has all the ingredients to make it a hub, like easy transfer from domestic and international and vice-versa, competitive charges that are attractive to passengers and airlines, and the experience of world-class facilities,” managing director of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) Kiran K. Grandhi told a news conference.

Scheduled to commence the commercial operations March 16, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is also expected to witness a boom on domestic front with many airliners planning to make it their hub and increase frequencies.

Emirates and other international airlines plan to increase flight frequency. The developers expect at least 30 percent increase in flights to the Gulf countries.

“It will be hassle-free experience for passengers, making a preferred destination.

“We have benchmarked the airport with the best in the world. In the landscape it is benchmarked with Singapore and in operations with Munich Airport,” he said.

“Why people prefer Dubai and Singapore is because there is connectivity to all the destinations and we hope that this facility will make Hyderabad the new hub because the flying time to the city from all destinations in India except Delhi is one hour and to Middle East and South East Asia three to five hours,” he said.

The British Airways is to launch flights from Heathrow to Hyderabad from Oct 27. There will be five flights each week on a Boeing 777 aircraft. The Gulf Air, the national carrier of Kingdom of Bahrain, plans daily flights to Hyderabad from June.

“The international carriers are operating the wide-bodies aircraft from the existing airport with 30 percent less passenger and cargo load due to the shorter runway but with the new airport they will be able to operate with full capacity,” said A. Vishwanath, vice president GMR.

The new airport has 4,260 meters long runway, the longest in South East Asia.

GHIAL hopes that the passenger traffic growth would increase by 20 to 25 percent in the first year. The number of passengers is expected to go up from existing 7 million to 8.4 million per annum. This includes 2.4 million international passengers.

The growth projections for the first year, however, are conservative considering that the city recorded highest growth rate of 44 percent as compared to other metro airports in India. The opening of new international airport at Bangalore is being cited as one of the reasons for this.

The average growth in passenger traffic during last five years was 25 percent. Presently, 21 airlines (11 international and 10 domestic) serve more than 35 destinations.

The existing airport at Begmupet in the heart of the city handles 250 flights per day and by the end of the current fiscal the number is expected to go up to 300 to 350 flights.

“We have 12 to 15 parking bays presently at Begumpet but the new facility has 45 parking bays and that is the demand the new facility will have,” said Grandhi.

The centrally located city, with its strengths in information technology and biotechnology, also has the potential to become a major cargo hub.

The existing airport is handling 45,000 tonnes of cargo every year. This is expected to go up to 60,000 tonnes by 2009 and to 100,000 tonnes by 2010.

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