The Delhi airport will have a head start of about two years over the Mumbai airport, according to a report by Macquarie Research. The development of the Mumbai airport has run into delays over slum encroachment.
Land earmarked for the new runway at the Mumbai airport is encroached by slum dwellers and the land acquisition process could take a while to sort out. Delhi airport has, on the other hand, not only finalised designs for the new runway and passenger terminal building but has also awarded construction contracts. The expanded capacity is expected to come on stream by 2010-11, ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
The Delhi and Mumbai airports are being upgraded through private-public partnership ventures. The development of Delhi airport was awarded to a consortium led by the GMR group, while another consortium led by the GVK Group has bagged the contract for Mumbai airport. The Airports Authority of India holds 26 per cent stakes in each of these joint ventures and the respective consortiums hold 74 per cent. The government estimates investments of Rs 7,961 crore and Rs 6,131 crore over 20 years for the Delhi and Mumbai airport upgrades respectively.
"With the Delhi airport stealing a march over Mumbai, it could benefit from better connectivity to international destinations and become the international airport of choice in India for both domestic and international carriers," the Macquarie report stated.
It also said that Delhi, the second largest airport, could potentially become the busiest as it is closing the gap with Mumbai. "During 2006-07, the market share difference between Delhi and Mumbai reduced to 2.1 per cent from 3.2 per cent in 2005-06," the report added.
The project implementation delay in Mumbai is also likely to benefit GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, which is fast emerging as a domestic hub.
"Among the major cities in India, Hyderabad is the most centrally located and has the potential to become a hub for domestic carriers in the medium term. Hyderabad can serve as a transit airport for tier-II destinations across regions," the report pointed out.
In addition to driving growth in passenger traffic, a hub status would enable the Hyderabad airport to earn substantial parking and housing revenues from airlines," the report said.