New Hyderabad airport gets nod for operations


Hyderabad : GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), the developer of the new international airport at Shamshabad near here, Tuesday announced that it has received the civil aviation ministry’s approval to commence operations from March 16.

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The ministry’s Gazette of India notification also confirms the closure of commercial operations at the existing Begumpet airport, Hyderabad, from March 16, said a statement issued by GHIAL.

“This is in pursuance of clause 5.5 of the Concession Agreement signed between the government of India and GHIAL on Dec 20, 2004,” said the statement.

GHIAL has built the Rs.25 billion world-class Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad, about 35 km from the existing airport at Begumpet in the heart of the city.

The notification was received hours before the employees of Airports Authority of India (AAI) were to begin the nationwide strike to demand continuing operations at the existing airports in Hyderabad and Bangalore.

About 270 employees of the existing airport are also participating in the indefinite strike beginning from Tuesday midnight.

The agreements signed by the government with the private developers stipulate that the existing airports in both the cities would be shut down once the new airports become operational.

While the new airport at Shamshabad is scheduled to be inaugurated by Congress president Sonia Gandhi March 14, the new airport near Bangalore is expected to be opened in the last week of this month.

GHIAL said it also received aerodrome licence and clearance for operations of fire fighting systems from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), environmental clearance granting consent for operations from the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) and clearance for the airport as a notified customs zone.

GHIAL is a joint venture company in which GMR Infrastructure Ltd hold 63 percent equity. Airports Authority of India and Government of Andhra Pradesh hold 13 percent each and Malaysian Airports Holding Bhd 11 percent.