Dholera airport to be Gujarat's biggest: Here's all you need to know

The Dholera airport is expected to significantly reduce the load on the Ahmedabad airport

Dholera airport to be Gujarat's biggest: Here's all you need to know
The Dholera airport has been promised to be even superior to the Ahmedabad airport. Image courtesy: DMICDC

Giving a major push to air connectivity in the Saurashtra region in Gujarat, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) last month passed a Rs 987 crore tender for the first phase of the Dholera International Airport.

According to the officials, the upcoming airport will be an advantage for the aerospace, defence and manufacturing industries that are looking forward to investing in the smart greenfield industrial city of Dholera and providing tourism and travel opportunities in Gujarat with greater impetus.

The Dholera airport is situated in the north of the Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) and is expected to cater not only to DSIR and its hinterland but also to the overflow of traffic from the international airport of Ahmedabad.

There are three international airports in the state of Gujarat, with Ahmedabad being the busiest. It is also the seventh busiest airport in India. The absence of an international airport in and around Saurashtra would make the international airport of Dholera strategic and beneficial in several ways.

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Manoj Das, Additional Chief Secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) and in charge of the industries and mines department, said “The proposed Dholera International Airport project would serve the logistic requirement of the upcoming DSIR besides handling the spillover traffic from the existing Ahmedabad airport in future.”

Das added, “This will propel airport-led economic growth in the entire region in line with other aerotropolis(es) worldwide. In the coming years, this international airport will help boost the entire aerospace ecosystem in the state of Gujarat.” 

The official said the airport would be aligned with a fire station of category nine and will incorporate a runway with a length of 3,200 metre and width of 45 metre which will be suitable for type 4E aircraft. 

All the necessary parameters will be matched by the Dholera International Airport and this will make it the best in class for all kinds of activities related to the aviation industry in and around the city.

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The government of Gujarat has allocated 1,427 hectares of land for this project and 75 hectares of government land for commercial development. The state government will also establish all the other related ancillary services, such as electricity, water, flood control and roads.

“With the state-of-the-art international airport, Dholera is set to become the largest airport in the state of Gujarat and this will enable the development of MRO, defence and aerospace industries close by. The proposed airport will also handle the increasing traffic from the nearby cities like Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Nadiad and Anand,” said Hareet Shukla, Managing Director, Dholera Industrial City Development Limited (DICDL).

The Dholera airport would be another feather in the cap of the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA), which has been putting a lot of emphasis on airport development and air connectivity across the country.

Work on the Dholera airport had not started for over a decade, according to a Times of India report. The project special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the Dholera International Airport Company Limited (DIACL) was set up in January 2012. The airport is planned to be commissioned by December 2023. 

The airport is expected to be a big boost to the DSIR, which is planned as a huge industrial township under the Delhi–Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project (DMIC) -- one of India's most ambitious infrastructure projects. 

According to a 2016 Business Standard report, the airport is being jointly developed by the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) and the Gujarat government. The airport was envisaged to have two parallel runways of 2,910 metres and 4,000 metres to be developed in three phases at a cost of Rs 1,712 crore. 

The project site is at a distance of 100 km from Ahmedabad airport. The Dholera airport would be superior to the Ahmedabad airport considering that the latter faces constraints of land for expansion and also that of a partial taxiway, the Business Standard report said.