Sunday, April 21, 2024

Table of Contents for Lead Story - Airport Infra

Interaction – Kritarth Raja, MD, AIC Infrastructure

AICPL is an aviation infrastructure company working on the three principles of Quality-Safety-Speed

AIC Infrastructures Pvt Ltd is a promising Aviation Infrastructure Company, which is in the business of pavements constructions, repairs and restorations with specific focus on aviation infrastructures. AICPL has successfully executed various major aviation infrastructure projects, which are orchestrated with consistent quality, safety assurance and adherence to planned project schedule. These major projects include resurfacing and improvement of runways, retaining wall, bridges, advance drainage and various concrete pavement works including construction/ expansion of Taxiways and Aprons. The company has recently created a record in completing the rehabilitation of runway at Ahmedabad Airport in 75 days. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, KRITARTH RAJA, MD, AIC INFRASTRUCTURES PVT LTD,  speaks about his company’s expertise in developing airport infrastructure, his company’s approach towards adopting best construction practices and technologies and a lot more.

Detail us on your company’s area of expertise in developing Airport infrastructure. Detail us on the projects executed/under execution in the airports’ sector by your company.

AIC Infrastructures Pvt Ltd is an aviation infrastructure company. From sector of general infrastructures to niche infrastructure (aviation) to expanding our horizon again- our journey has been very challenging. These challenges have shaped us today of what we are and the way we exercise business.

We have built Highways, Runways, Taxiways, Buildings and now Metro stations just to name few. To shell ourselves in the world of expertise is like restricting on our bandwidth. With every project we are learning and moving towards our ultimate goal of Nation Building without compromising on quality and safety. However just to share our recent achievement, we have created a record in delivering the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad’s Runway project in record time.

Is your company bidding for any airport construction or up-gradation projects, and operations contracts in India and abroad. If so what’s their current status.

I term Bidding as Churning of the Latent which creates opportunity for one and adversity for other. The decision to privatize the airports across the country by our prime minister and ministry of civil aviation has created many opportunities today. We are bidding for major upgradation projects in India and airport construction projects abroad.

Give us an understanding about the company’s approach towards adopting best construction practices and technologies that has contributed in strengthening its footprint in India?

We have executed various time bound projects in past. One thing what I have learnt is when you don’t compromise on Safety and Quality, you are already in the framework of Best construction practices.

To construct is demand, to repair is compulsion however to preserve is proactiveness. We have introduced the technology of airfield pavement preservation in India and have been pioneering the same.

Major issues/ challenges in modernization of Indian airports.

When we talk about modernization of Airports, we are talking about brownfield airports in particular. These modernizations are done for expansion or transformation of existing facility. The modernization carries constraints, to mention few- Lack of details for existing Infrastructures/Utilities/Systems which reduces the speed of execution, impacts overall efficiency which accelerates the cost of the modernization.

Your comments on passenger/cargo handling capacity deficit of Indian airports. What can the AAI, Civil Aviation Ministry and private airport operators do to meet this shortfall.

India is one of the largest growing aviation markets in the world and has huge potential with respect to its geographical location, growing economy and its growth in domestic and international trade. However Inadequate Infrastructure is a major bottleneck in developing the country’s air cargo sector. To reduce such bottleneck, AAI/Civil aviation ministry should establish dedicated cargo airports, automate air cargo procedures and information systems to streamline redundant processes.

Domestic travel has doubled in country and thus airports in India are experiencing congestion as they are operating 85%-120% of their handling capacity. Privatization of the airports may resolve this issue of congestion and lead to better infrastructure, services and experience.

Your assessment of construction and airport operations opportunities in India’s aviation sector.

With more and more airports getting privatized, it will be responsibility of the concessionaire to develop, upgrade and maintain the infrastructure at the airports. This will lead to lot of opportunities in aviation infrastructures.

Modern airports have metamorphosed beyond being just airports. Most airports now have a mixed use commercial real estate. What emerging trends do you predict for airports in the future.

With time and often necessity comes innovation. A digitally connected world has opened virtual doors to reality where one can be immersed in other worldly experiences. It’s no surprise that the aviation industry is entering the metaverse in intriguing ways—it is often among the first to utilize advancing technologies. You can now take tours of cabin interiors, the business class and premium check-ins at few airports virtually.

What kind of government policy would attract private players in India’s airports’ sector.

At present except a few major airports all other airports are under the control of Airport Authority of India. Unfortunately, in order to participate in the development works for these airports, the authority awards works to only qualified lowest bidder, irrespective of their prior experience in airports.

Lowest i.e L1 is a dangerous term as this does not take into account of the other aspects such as quality, timelines etc. The government can probably think of allocating works based on a metric where both technical, quality parameters along with price is considered.

Outlook on the Airport Infrastructure industry and from a company perspective

Aviation Infrastructure is a niche field for a reason. Extreme coordination, planning and team work is required to execute the works at Airport. A major project at a brownfield airport involves war gaming exercises. Continuously creating a drumbeat of awareness and understanding of Quality-Safety-Timelines among the team is a regular practice as any failure is a front news.

AICPL is an aviation infrastructure company working on the three principles of Quality-Safety-Speed and has recently created a record in completing the rehabilitation of runway at Ahmedabad Airport in 75 days.

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