INDIAS CROWN JEWAR
Indian aviation’s’ game-changing move is a treasure in the making.
Let us try to spin some positivity in bad news. Reading the figures given by CAPA, one can say the percentage increase between last fiscal’s losses for Indian airlines over this year is not much. Last year it was USD 3.9 billion, this year it is USD 4.1 billion.
However cynical this optimism might sound, there is definitely something to celebrate. If I recollect right, there was hardly a serious attempt earlier to get more industry experts on board planning panels as has happened just recently. The cursory industry delegation meeting in a Minister’s office of tea and cookies aside, the formalisation of a consultative or advisory set-up was never so institutionalised as has happened recently.
While most airline operators and everyone else connected to the aviation business is looking for immediate relief, the bigger picture cannot be sacrificed for immediate expediency.
The development of a new airport near the capital is the icing on the cake. Before the second wave grounded the flying hopes, all seemed set to add another approximately 400 new routes in domestic networks.
Expected to start operations within the next two years, the Jewar airport near Delhi will largely serve domestic flights in its opening year. The vast swathes of green fields and deceptively vacant land one sees, driving on the Yamuna Expressway today is all set to transform into another modern metropolis like skyline within almost the same time frame or maybe a little more. It will give a fillip to not only the aviation industry, but several other sectors. Real estate and tourism benefits the most.
Apparently four new cities, or modern habitats and commercial complexes are planned around the airport simultaneously. Though barely noticed, the investment and planning for the neighbourhood has gone ahead in the lockdown period and the flurry of activity to come could well be something not seen in in a long time.
Now one should graciously make way for some pessimists as well. Already the fears of a third wave are being bandied about. Travel might still be a pain and the birds might still remain grounded in its wake.
Thankfully, as the central vista project has demonstrated, with firm focus, work can proceed as scheduled in the worst of times. The impact of this project is still not being fully comprehended by the laity and certain experts as well. The humungous attempt to mobilise and build new and mobilise existing road, rail and metro networks for connecting the IGI and Jewar airports will change the face of tourism in these parts dramatically.
For once let’s relax. We will not be ostriches dreaming of elusive glory, if we pause to celebrate some good tidings in these hideous times.
The views expressed in this column are of the authour, and may or may not be endorsed by the publication.