Swiss firm Zurich Airport to develop India's biggest airport, outbids DIAL, Adani

The airport will be the third in NCR and is touted to have 6-8 runways

India has long been toying with the idea of installing full body scanners at airports | PTI [Representational image] The Switzerland-headquartered company that runs Zurich airport made the highest per passenger bid | PTI

Zurich Airport International AG will develop the Jewar airport on the outskirts of Delhi, officials said after the Swiss company on Friday outbid competitors like Adani and DIAL for what is billed to be the biggest airport in the country.

The Switzerland-headquartered company that runs Zurich airport made the highest per passenger bid, beating Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), Adani Enterprises and Anchorage Infrastructure Investments Holdings Limited, the officials said.

The airport in Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar district will be the third in the National Capital Region after Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport and in Ghaziabad's Hindon.

The Jewar Airport or the Noida International Greenfield Airport will be spread over 5,000 hectares when fully built at an estimated to cost Rs 29,560 crore, Shailendra Bhatia, the project's nodal officer said. "Zurich Airport International AG has made the highest bid for developing the Jewar airport and has been selected as the concessionaire for the airport," he added.

With this, Flughafen Zurich will be making its re-entry in the domestic aviation sector nearly three years after it exited the Bangalore airport selling its residual 5 per cent stake to FairFax Holdings. "A positive development for the sector with an international developer emerging as the preferred bidder. It will be important that all the external connectivity issues are addressed on a war footing and an unencumbered site for the development of the new airport is also given to the concessionaire at the earliest," Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, practice leader at Crisil said in a statement. 

On Wednesday, the four firms were announced to have cleared the technical criteria as proposed developers for the new airport. The financial bids were on Friday opened before their representatives at the Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL) office in Greater Noida, he said.

The selection for concessionaire has been done on basis of premium per passenger (pax) offered by the four bidders.

Anchorage Infrastructure Investments Holdings Limited offer Rs 205 per pax, Adani Enterprises Limited Rs 360, DIAL Rs 351 and Zurich Airport International AG 400.97, Bhatia told PTI.

He said the winning bid will now be put up before the project monitoring and implementation committee (PMIC) on Monday for approval from the Uttar Pradesh government.

A global tender was floated to hire a developer for the proposed airport on May 30 by the NIAL, an agency floated by the Uttar Pradesh government to manage the mega project.

The airport is expected to have six to eight runways, the most in India, when fully built, according to officials. The first phase of the airport would be spread over 1,334 hectare and completed by 2023 at a cost Rs 4,588 crore, they said.

A pioneer in the airport privatisation in the country, Zurich Airport was selected as the operator and shareholder for the Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru in 2001 with 17 per cent stake. However, it sold 12 per cent stake to GVK Group in 2009 and the remaining 5 per cent to India-born Canadian investor Prem Watsa's FairFax in 2016, which now owns majority in the third largest airport.