DIAL moves HC against Centre’s decision to allow commercial flights from Hindon Airforce Station

The Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) moved the Delhi High Court on Wednesday against the Centre’s decision to allow Airports Authority of India (AAI) to commence scheduled commercial flight operations at the Indian Airforce Station situated in Hindon, Ghaziabad.

Justice Subraminium Prasad sought the stand of the Centre and AAI on the petition.

DIAL, a joint venture of the GMR-led consortium and AAI that manages the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here, argued that the Centre’s decision of October 31, 2023 was arbitrary, unfair, unilateral and commercially unsustainable.

In its plea, DIAL said a greenfield airport is already being developed at Jewar, which is within 150 km of IGIA, and allowing Hindon Airforce Station to be used for scheduled commercial operations to cater to the same catchment area even before those two airports reach their saturation capacity would seriously impact the viability of IGIA and result in under-utilization of all the three airports.

Despite an enormous investment by DIAL for expansion of IGIA and exponential increase in the capacity of that airport, the Centre made the decision unilaterally without even giving it an opportunity of hearing, the plea stated.

DIAL, in the petition, added that pursuant to an MOU, it earlier consented to the use of the Hindon Airforce Station for the limited purpose and time for operating certain flights falling under the Regional Air Connectivity Scheme while the upgradation at IGIA was underway but now that the expansion work is about to be completed around March, the authorities, instead of honouring their obligations, decided to expand the scope of operations at the Hindon Airforce Station.

The plea also said the decision was taken without following the due process of law in terms of the Airport Infrastructure Policy and the Greenfield Airport Policy, and said setting up of another greenfield airport ought to have been through a competitive bidding process.

The court listed the matter for further hearing in March. 

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