'The role of state governments would be critical to promote and nurture regional aviation and airport infrastructure'
Chief Executive Office, SGK Kishore, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL)

SGK Kishore What is your assessment on the scope of airport infrastructure projects in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in India? Is GMR involved with any of these projects?

Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities of India are the growth engines for the future. The growth of these two tiers signals a positive sign for the nation with their efforts to offset the pressure on the metros which are suffering from the burden of space, time and infrastructure. With the real estate firms and IT companies making a shift to these cities – air connectivity with these cities of the future needs to be on top priority.

Lot has to be done to develop airport infrastructure in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities of India. There are multitudes of airports scattered across the length and breadth of India, but several of them are in unusable condition.

Robust public private partnership in developing these hinterland airports across India would be a good thought process. However, the role of state governments would be critical to promote and nurture regional aviation and airport infrastructure. The government’s role would be vital to turn smaller cities into profitable destinations for airlines, which, of course, will be possible if there is optimum airport infrastructure in place for smooth air connectivity. The current Central government has encouraged the hope for better aviation infrastructure in in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.

What steps must the government take to ensure ease of business in India while handling strategically important infrastructure projects like airport constructions?

To effectively leverage the potential offered by the aviation industry and to attract more investments, it is imperative that we resolve some of the issues which have affected the sector. We need to ensure that there is consistency of policy and regulation, stability, clarity and adherence to the terms of concession agreements over the course of the entire concession period so as to boost the investor confidence in participating in PPP projects. We also need to ensure availability of long-term financing on favourable terms to fund the creation of these national assets, which will go a long way in bringing down the costs of these highly capital intensive projects.

GMR has been successful in building iconic airports like IGI T3 and Hyderabad international airport. Give us a little insight and details on these projects. Also, comment on what more needs to be done to ensure the world class projects like these happen in India in a more frequent way.

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Hyderabad is located strategically at the geographical centre of India within two hours flying time to all Indian major cities. It is also well positioned globally within a five hour radius from all major cities in the Middle East and South East Asia. Currently, we have 22 airlines operating out of RGIA connecting 50 global destinations.

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