India's Taj Mahal airport project takes off

Consultant RFP and technical bids launched for the proposed international airport in the Indian city of Agra, a popular tourist destination which is home to the Taj Mahal and several UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The state government of Uttar Pradesh, in India, is planning to develop a new international airport near Agra through a public-private partnership, to boost tourism and regional development.

The project will be developed on a design, build, finance, operate, transfer (DBFOT) basis and consultant bids for the project have been received. The consultant will be required to recommend a site for the airport, bearing in mind several restrictions imposed by nearby airbases.  

Three Indian Air Force bases are within 100 kilometres of the region and a commercial airport cannot be built within a radius of 150 kilometres from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), according to a clause in the agreement with airport operator DIAL.

Agra is situated at a distance of approximately 200 kilometres from New Delhi, and previous proposals to build a Taj International Airport were scrapped in May for being too close to the New Delhi airport. 

The consultant is also expected to prepare all the necessary documents for environmental, social, defence and other clearances needed from the government.

Another international airport at Kushinagar in the same state is also in the pipeline. The project was sanctioned by the Uttar Pradesh government in January 2010 and in May this year bidders submitted expressions of interest.

The preliminary estimated total cost for developing the proposed Kushinagar international airport is INR2.5 billion (€35 million; $ 46 million) and the site will be given to the selected project developer for a 60-year concession period.

Again, the project aims to boost tourism in the state. Kushinagar is one of two places in Uttar Pradesh that all Buddhists are required to visit at least once in their lifetime.