Signing Date of Jewar Airport's Key Pact Deferred Due to Covid-19 Pandemic

The Uttar Pradesh government has deferred the date of signing of the concession agreement for the Rs 29,560-crore Jewar Airport in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an official order.

The decision was taken by the state cabinet during a meeting in Lucknow on Tuesday.

"The signing of the concession agreement with selected developer Zurich Airport International AG has been extended by 45 days from resumption of India-Malaysia and India-Switzerland flights plus mandatory quarantine days or by August 17, whichever is earlier," the order stated.

The state cabinet also authorised Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to take decisions from time to time regarding the international greenfield airport project, it added.

According to officials, the decision has been taken in view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The concession agreement, in normal conditions, would have been signed by July 2 between the UP government and the Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL) — a special purpose vehicle floated by Zurich Airport for implementing the project, the officials said.

Shailendra Bhatia, Noida International Airport Limited's nodal officer for Jewar Airport, said the concession agreement was stipulated to be signed within 45 days of the security clearance for the project.

"Security clearance was received on May 18. Hence, the signing would have taken place maximum by July 2. However, due to the pandemic, the developer had requested the state government to extend the date of signing by 120 days. The signing has been deferred till August 17," Bhatia told PTI.

He said Zurich Airport's SPV YIAPL has three directors, one of whom lives in India, while the other two are based in Malaysia and Switzerland.

"The presence of at least two directors is required for the signing of the agreement," he said.

The officer added that in case the COVID-19 situation does not improve even in August, the cabinet will review the circumstances and take an appropriate decision on the signing date of the agreement.

On November 29 last year, Swiss firm Zurich Airport emerged as the highest bidder to develop the Jewar airport on the outskirts of Delhi in Gautam Buddh Nagar district of UP, outbidding competitors like Adani Enterprises, DIAL and Anchorage Infrastructure Investments Holding.

The entire project will be spread over 5,000 hectares and is estimated to cost Rs 29,560 crore, the officials said.

Once completed, the airport, which will be the third in the national capital region after Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport and Ghaziabad's Hindon Airport, is touted to have six to eight runways, the most in India, they said.

The first phase of the airport would be spread over 1,334 hectares and is expected to be completed by 2023 at a cost of Rs 4,588 crore, the officials said.