SINGAPORE/INDIA. Changi Airports International (CAI) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL) to build another new airport in India.

The news, first reported by The Straits Times this week and subsequently confirmed by The Moodie Report with CAI marks another stage in the ambitious Singapore group’s rapid international expansion.

The new airport is located at Machhiwara, a town in Ludhiana district in the Indian state of Punjab. The airport will service a major new town that is being built in the densely populated area.

CAI is already working with BAPL on the US$2.5 million Durgapur project in West Bengal. The Durgapur project is India’s first Aerotropolis (or Airport City) and will include the country’s first private airport.

BAPL Director Raj Shekhar Agrawal told The Straits Times that the Machiwara airport, built to handle up to five million passengers a year, will open in 2012.

On the decision to partner CAI a second time, he said: “It is a good team and since we are already working together in Durgapur and comfortable with each other, it makes sense.”

CAI is also poised to take a 26% stake in BAPL.

Despite the slowdown in the global aviation business, India is on a fast track to develop new airports and privatise existing ones, the newspaper report said. “There is a lag in what is needed and the infrastructure now available. So, if anything, I expect plans to be accelerated, not slowed,” Agrawal said.

In November last year, CAI landed a S$65 million (US$41.9 million) contract to manage and operate Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd International Airport (KFIA) in Damman, the world’s largest airport in terms of land space. It is CAI’s largest-ever airport management contract.

Besides KFIA, CAI’s operations in the Middle East involve the management of Abu Dhabi International Airport. It has also secured the master plan contract to develop the King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba, Jordan.

In China CAI has formed a strategic partnership with Shenzhen Airport Group to develop a portfolio of regional airports across China. The alliance saw CAI investing US$138 million for a 29% stake in Nanjing Lukou International Airport, which had a capacity of ten million and a passenger volume of six million in 2006.



Changi Airports International and Basic Element to bid for St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport development contract – 05/06/08

Changi Airports International in negotiations to run the world’s largest airport in Damman, Saudi Arabia – 14/01/08

Changi Airports International in acquisitions drive – 09/01/08

Changi Airports International signs deal to acquire 29% of China’s Nanjing Lukou International Airport – 17/12/07