the-south-asian Life & Times                       Oct - Dec 2010





 Editor's Note


 Cover Feature
 Early History



 Chandni Chowk
 South Asia's Oldest Bazar

 Kashmiri Gate

 Lutyens's Delhi Turns 80

 The Super 4 of 2010


 Arjun Atwal

 Bopanna & Qureshi

 Photo Feature
 Kulwant Roy's
 Priceless Legacy


 Revving up India's

 Arunachal Pradesh

 Sport is a Sport











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V P Agrawal

About the Author

V.P. Agrawal is the Chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI). An Engineering graduate from Roorkee, he has been closely involved with the challenging task of upgrading and creating world class infrastructure at 35 non-metro airports in India, setting up of greenfield airports, modernisation of Chennai and Kolkata airports, installation of state-of-the-art CNS/ATM equipment, and in planning the implementation of the soon-to-be-commissioned GAGAN Project. His dream is to bring airport infrastructure in India to the forefront.

AAI manages and operates 126 airports, including 12 international airports, within India.

A little over a decade ago, Low Cost Carriers ushered in a sudden surge of increased air traffic within the aviation industry in India. This obviously necessitated a closer and a serious look at the airport infrastructure, especially since the Terminal buildings at most of the airports were of Second World War vintage, with the exception of a few airports that had undergone some cosmetic changes or touch-ups.

The Airports Authority of India (AAl), being the ‘Mainstay of Civil Aviation’, took up the task of upgrading and modernizing the airports - a Herculean task – from all angles. The growth in domestic passenger traffic at the time well exceeded 20 per cent, easily amongst the highest in the world. It was slated to cruise far ahead of growth in countries such as China, France and was expected to touch 400 million. International traffic too was witnessing substantial growth.

AAI was bracing up for the challenges when came the government policy of public private-participation (PPP), as a result of which two of our main airports - Delhi & Mumbai - were heaved away from AAI’s ambit. Notwithstanding the same, AAI focused on the 35 non-metro airports in addition to Chennai & Kolkata airports with the aim of turning them into world-class airports. Development works at another 23 airports was also undertaken.

The Terminal 3 at Delhi airport is nothing short of a marvel. AAI, being the proud owners of Delhi Airport, undoubtedly, feel privileged and elated with the commissioning of T3 at its airport. It would like to extend our appreciation and gratitude to GMR, our partners at Delhi, for adding this ‘Marvel of an Asset’ to our infrastructure inventory at Delhi airport. The ‘Grand’ Terminal, spread over an area of 5.4 million sq ft, is the first of its kind in Asia, and one of the best in the world. The Terminal was recently inaugurated by the Honourable Prime Minister of India, in what was a star-studded ceremony.

We were in the midst of executing our plans when the ‘Global Economic Meltdown’ impacted our development activities, necessitating a review of our planned projects to ensure no compromise on quality and standards. As an outcome of the situation, the air traffic growth worldwide and the related revenues had been affected adversely. At AAI too, funds for the smooth & uninterrupted execution of projects posed a challenge. However, this also offered us an opportunity to take stock of the situation and carry out an in-depth analytical study to identify pitfalls / grey areas which required to be plugged / eradicated, thus ensuring a better and cost effective management /services. Despite the grave situation that had since emerged, we took an optimistic view by considering that the slowdown would be a temporary phenomenon. Based on the anticipated growth in the aviation industry, we were certain to see clear skies ahead in the years to come. Therefore, the development / upgradation projects that were already underway and those in the pipeline were not abandoned, as we had no doubts that in the long run, the additional capacity would stand us in good stead once the economy revived and air traffic once again got into an ascending mode.

AAI has already completed its projects at 12 non-metro airports & 12 other airports. It is envisaged that another 14 non-metro projects and five other airport projects will be completed in 2010 – 2011. The progress at Chennai and Kolkata airports is satisfactory and under control.

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The South Asian Life & Times


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