The Centre on Tuesday approved the construction of a new airport at Dholera in Gujarat. It will serve as the second airport to Ahmedabad.

“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the proposal for development of Phase I of the new greenfield airport at Dholera, Gujarat at an estimated cost of ₹1,305 crore, to be completed within 48 months,” a Government statement said.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said that the project is being implemented by Dholera International Airport Company Limited (DIACL), a joint venture company comprising Airports Authority of India (AAI), the Government of Gujarat (GoG) and National Industrial Corridor Development and Implementation Trust (NICDIT) holding equity in the ratio of 51:33:16.

“Dholera Airport is to get passenger and cargo traffic from Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) and is expected to become a major cargo hub to serve the industrial region. This airport would cater to the nearby region and serve as a second airport to Ahmedabad,” he said.

The new greenfield airport at Dholera is situated at an aerial distance of 80 km from Ahmedabad airport. The new airport is likely to be operationalised by 2025-26 and the passenger traffic is estimated at three lakh per annum, and likely to grow to 23 lakh over a period of 20 years. By 2025-26, the annual cargo traffic is estimated at 20,000 tonne, and to grow to 2,73,000 tonne over the next two decades

Moratorium to Cochin Port Authority

In another decision, the CCEA approved moratorium for repayment of the GoI loans worth ₹446.83 crore borrowed during 2020-21, 2021-22 & 2022-23 by the Cochin Port Authority to tide over the Covid-induced financial crisis.

The outstanding was to be repaid in ten instalments commencing 2018-19. However, the Cochin Port Authority could only pay the instalments for 2018-19 and 2019-20. From 2020-21, the traffic was badly impacted due to Covid-19 pandemic, adversely impacting the cash inflow resulting in non-payment of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 instalments.

The Cochin Port was brought under the Major Port Authorities Act, 2021 effective November 2021. The CCEA on August 24, 2016 had approved the proposal to waive penal interest on the Government of India loans borrowed by the Cochin Port for undertaking infrastructural developmental activities from 1936-37 to 1994-95.