GMR-Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) is a joint venture company promoted by GMR Group (63%) with Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB) (11%), Government of Andhra Pradesh (13%) and the Airports Authority of India (13%) as the other consortium partners.
GHIAL won the bid to develop and operate the greenfield international airport at Shamshabad in Hyderabad through an international competitive bidding process conducted by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Government of India in 2003.
GHIAL has undertaken to build, finance, operate and maintain the new airport under a public-private partnership initiative. The total investment for the airport construction will be Rs24,780m.
COWI A/S, in association with Aviaplan of Norway and STUP of India, provided consulting services for preparing the master plan, engineering / architectural design and tender documents for the construction of the new airport.
The airport opened on 23 March 2008 (commercial operations beginning at one minute past noon on that day and the first flight landing at 12.25 from Frankfurt). Munich Airport International acted as an aid and consultant in the transfer of operations from the old Begumpet Airport (MAHB are also providing advice on operations).
The inauguration of the airport occurred on 14 March 2008 and was carried out by Sonia Gandhi. YS Rajashekhar Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh chose the name of the new airport to honour one of the Gandhi family, who had been an important political influence in the region.
Domestic and international airport hub
The airport located in Shamshabad, 22km to the southwest of Hyderabad, is strategically located in India to become a major domestic and international hub. Hyderabad is in the geographic centre of India and is within two-hour flying time to all the major cities in India and three to five hours flying time to all major cities in the Middle East and South-East Asia.
Hyderabad has become an important economic centre in India. The number of IT companies with headquarters in Hyderabad has resulted in it being dubbed ‘India’s second Silicon Valley. The city is also a major centre for biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
Hyderabad has a population of 7.3 million inhabitants and a catchment area extending to 75 million people living within a couple of hours of the city. Currently, there are 11 international airlines and nine domestic airlines operating from Hyderabad, flying to over 35 destinations.
Development and construction (phase one)
The initial phase of the new airport was capable of handling 12 million passengers a year (peak hour passenger capacity 3,200) and more than 100,000t of cargo annually (initially 43,000t). The final capacity of the airport will be over 50 million passengers a year and one million tonnes of cargo.
The airport has a single terminal (with a modular design for easy expansion) which is equipped with 12 contact boarding bridges, 30 remote stands, 62 Common User Terminal Equipment (CUTE) check-in desks and 24 self-check-in kiosks, 45 immigration counters and a large business hotel. The runway is compatible with the operation of the new Airbus A380.
The airport is also equipped with the latest IT systems and Airport Operational Database (AODB) technology (the first time this has been deployed in India).
Other buildings include the ATC tower (Air Traffic Control), cargo terminal, MRO (Maintenance and Repair Overhaul), CFR station (Crash, Fire and Rescue) and utilities. These have a combined area of 35,000m².
Following the completion of phase two, the terminal building will have 54 stands for aircraft parking. The LCT will also be expanded to its full capacity of 1.5 million passengers per annum. A second runway will be required before the commencement of construction of terminal two.
An increase in the number of established facilities such as hotels, offices, cargo and maintenance facilities will also be seen. The total built-up area at the end of this phase will be 470,000m² (5,100,000ft²).
In phase two, terminal one will be expanded to an area of 250,000m² to cater to growing passenger numbers.
In the third phase an additional floor area of 430,000m² will be constructed bringing the total built-up area to 900,000m².
The master plan has been designed to cater to 50 million passengers a year. To achieve this, the present master plan allows freedom of expansion to both airside and landside facilities within the airport site. The further acquisition of land to the north and south will allow construction of a third and fourth runway system.
Rajiv Gandhi international contractors
The main EPC contractors were Larsen & Toubro for airside and landside works, and China State Construction & Engineering (Hong Kong) for the construction of the passenger terminal building and the ATC Tower. Menzies Aviation Plc was chosen for the development and operation of cargo facilities. The in-flight catering contract was awarded to LSG Sky Chef and Sky Gourmet.
Reliance Industries (RIL) was given the contract to operate and maintain India’s first unique open-access model in setting up the fuel farm inside the airport (seven-year contract).
Novotel, Accor Group, was awarded the contract to operate and maintain a four-star business hotel to host the transit and business passengers.
Nuance-Shopper’s Stop consortium developed and operates and maintains the duty-free and retail facilities for domestic and international passengers.
Plaza Premium Lounge of Hong Kong will maintain and manage the 17,000ft² of premium lounge space in the airport.
As part of the Rs5.18bn ($115m) contract awarded to Larsen & Toubro (L&T) they constructed the runway, taxiway and aprons (137,000m²) capable of accommodating code F aircraft (including the A380 jet). The company also installed the airfield lighting (CAT 1) and aviation hydrant systems and constructed the fire rescue station, airport roadways and cargo terminal.
China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong), as well as constructing the 103,300m² Passenger Terminal Building (PTB), installed the airport’s baggage handling and examination system (in-line X-ray). They also provided the IT, electrical and mechanical systems for the new terminal under the Rs6.88bn ($153m) contract.
Open-access model fuel farm
RIL has set up an ‘open access model’ fuel farm consisting of three huge storage tanks with an initial capacity of 13,500Kl of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) and hydrant in the new airport premises for the supply of fuel to the aircraft. The RIL, in turn, operates and maintains the farm, as well as provide ‘into-aircraft’ services.
The open-access model means any oil company can supply fuel to airlines as per their agreements. This model is the first of its kind in India and has successfully been deployed in major international airports such as Hong Kong. It has been developed in consultation with internationally reputed companies: Red Mallee, an Australia-based consultant, and Hong Kong Airport Services, Hong Kong.
The storage tanks are connected to the apron through underground pipelines forming the hydrant system. They cater to the fuel needs of all airlines. Anyone who is authorised by the Government of India and has a valid contract with the airline companies will be allowed to supply fuel through these pipelines.
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport design
The basic design of the passenger terminal building is simple so that the sequences of spaces facilitate easy and comfortable movement and orientation. The passenger terminal will cover 105,300m² of floor space and has systems in place to ensure rapid transit between the domestic and international concourses.
The 2,500m² ‘Airport Village’ is a spacious covered area complete with shopping, kiosks and stalls where ‘meeters and greeters’ can interact with passengers. There is also a business hotel near the terminal building.
The major access points to the site are from NH-7 (in the west) and Srisailam SH (in the east) besides the proposed outer ring road. An elevated expressway (11.5km) will also connect passengers from the city to the NH-7 and from there to an expanded four-lane NH road leading to the new airport.
The construction work started in October 2005 when the first concrete was poured. In June 2007, the passenger terminal building was well underway with roofing work 81% completed, and MEP works in progress as well with the façade being 77% complete.
The ATC superstructure was completed late in the summer of 2007 and the runway and taxiways were very nearly complete (work was started on the runways in December 2005). The asphalt runway (09/27) is 4,260m (13,976ft) long and 60m wide with a shoulder of 7.5m.
Funds for the construction of the new airport were provided by the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Andhra Bank and the Vijaya Bank.
Rupee debt of Rs2,000m ($50m) and foreign currency (dollar) external commercial borrowing ECB of Rs5,180m ($128.6m) was used for the development of additional airport facilities, fuel farm and the business hotel. This investment was for the creation of additional facilities, common fuel farm and business hotel in the airport.
The extra amenities being created included more aircraft parking stands, rapid-exit taxiways, full-length parallel taxiway and additional office space for airlines, extra cargo terminal space, additional car parking for passengers and public, extra immigration desks, self-check-in kiosks and bus gate lounges. The money was also be used to finance installing additional security equipment.
The ECB has a repayment moratorium of two years from the date of commencement of the airport operations, and the repayment schedule is spread over 14 years.
New Rajiv Gandhi Airport operations
Lufthansa Technik is to set up a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Rajiv Gandhi International airport to service aeroplanes.
The new $20m facility will be a joint effort between Lufthansa Technik (75% owner) and GMR Group. The facility will provide base maintenance services (including C and D-checks) for Airbus A320 family and Boeing 737 aircraft, including 737 Classic and 737 NG (Next-Generation). The facility will begin operations at the end of 2008 with a two-bay hangar.
In addition, Indian Airlines are also to set up an MRO facility at Rajiv Gandhi and GHIAL have signed a lease to this effect. GHIAL is to build a connecting taxiway, apron and engine run-up bay for the new facility.
GHIAL also recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Sabena Flight Academy to establish a new flight aviation academy at the airport. The joint venture company (investing €80m) will establish a modern aviation academy at the airport by January 2009.
Training will be offered for pilot and cabin crew, engine engineers, technicians and aviation consultants. Facilities will include six full-flight simulators, cabin trainers and engineering tooling.