Delhi IGI Airport Petitions Delhi High Court to Cease Commercial Flight Operations at Ghaziabad Air Station

The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), responsible for managing the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) in Delhi, has approached the Delhi High Court in opposition to the government’s decision to allow commercial flights from the Hindon Indian Air Force station in Ghaziabad. DIAL, led by the GMR Group, argues that this move will negatively impact not only IGI Airport but also the upcoming Jewar Airport and Hindon Air Force Station itself.

The dispute revolves around a decision made on October 31, 2023, by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) to permit the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to conduct scheduled commercial flights from Hindon. DIAL is also challenging a communication from AAI on the same day, inviting airline operators to increase flight operations and submit their schedules for slots at Hindon Air Force Station.

DIAL’s main contention is that allowing commercial flights from Hindon will make all three airports financially unsustainable, creating competition for passengers and revenue. The consortium argues that this contradicts the MCA’s own policy, which generally prohibits the establishment of a new airport within 150 km of an existing one. An exception is made only if the existing airport is saturated and unable to expand to meet passenger demands.

DIAL claims that this exception does not apply to Hindon, as IGI Airport can handle projected traffic, and there’s no evident need for a new airport focal point. Additionally, DIAL emphasizes that Jewar Airport, a greenfield airport with a projected capacity of over 100 million passengers per annum, is already under development within the 150 km radius of IGI Airport.

According to the plea submitted to the court, the total passenger capacity of approximately 250 million passengers per annum in the National Capital Region (NCR) is expected to be sufficient until 2050 with the development of IGI, Jewar, and the existing airports.

The court has issued notices to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India, and the case is scheduled for the next hearing on March 5. This legal battle brings attention to the complex dynamics of airport management and expansion, highlighting concerns about potential economic repercussions and adherence to government policies in the aviation sector.

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