Noida airport agreement delayed as foreign partners cannot fly in from Switzerland and Malaysia

The project has a deadline of 2023 and the company said it was in regular touch with the Uttar Pradesh Government. There are presently no ‘air bubble’ agreements between India and Switzerland or with Malaysia.

The COVID crisis has delayed the signing of the concession agreement for the Noida International Airport as directors of the Switzerland-based company Zurich Airport AG are unable to travel to India due to the absence of international flights for nearly five months now.

“There are presently no international flights between Switzerland and India and Malaysia and India. One of our directors from Zurich, one from Malaysia, and I need to travel for signing the concession agreement. We are hoping for more ‘air bubble’ agreements to emerge to allow us to come to India,” Daniel Bircher, the CEO of Zurich Airport Asia based in Malaysia told ET on phone. The project has a deadline of 2023 and the company said it was in regular touch with the Uttar Pradesh Government. There are presently no ‘air bubble’ agreements between India and Switzerland or with Malaysia.

Bircher said the company had started work on the project by way of completing nearly half of the design process and the Masterplan is also nearing completion as the timelines were tight and the company does not want to wait. He said they were reviewing if the agreement can be signed virtually. “Signing the agreement is one part of it. To develop this project physical verification is required, hiring experts, commercial contracts to be signed, and interaction with the authorities... some of it is done electronically, other activities are difficult to be executed virtually. Thus, COVID-19 has definitely had an impact. But we are confident,” Bircher said.


The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday had for the second time deferred the date for the signing of a concession agreement with Zurich Airport AG. Earlier in June, the government had extended till August 17 the date for the signing of the agreement amid travel restrictions due to the global outbreak of COVID-19. The Zurich-based firm had emerged as the highest bidder to develop the Noida International Airport last November.

Since July, India has established ‘air bubbles’ with the US, UK. France, Germany, the UAE, Qatar and Maldives and is in talks with 13 other countries like Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Singapore, Russia, South Korea and Thailand for the same.
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