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Noida International Airport aims to create much-needed aviation infra in NCR

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Once operational in 2024, Noida International Airport (NIA) will bring the much-needed aviation infrastructure in the National Capital Region (NCR), contended the builder of the upcoming facility.

Touted to be Asia’s largest airport once all phases are completed, the NIA will be designed and operated by Switzerland-based Zurich International Airport Limited AG (ZAIA) under a 40-year concession.

The first phase of the mammoth project is expected to be completed by 2024 with a capacity for 12 million passengers per year.

In a conversation with IANS, Daniel Bircher, CEO, Zurich Airport International (Asia), said: “We’re bringing much-needed aviation infrastructure to one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas – a region with a very strong economic and industrial growth outlook.”

“This is also crucial for the airlines that need space for strategic growth. Overall, we believe India is a strong market and the domestic demand will fuel the economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic,” Bircher added.

Recently, the Uttar Pradesh state government signed the concession agreement with the company to commence the development of the airport at Jewar.

Bircher elaborated that airport construction will create several thousand additional jobs in the next few years.

“The project will fuel employment generation in the state of Uttar Pradesh. We expect the airport ecosystem will create about 3,000 to 4,000 direct jobs once operational,” Bircher said.

On the likely traffic trends, he predicted that initially the airport will cater to the domestic demand.

“Once the airport is operational, 90 per cent of the initial traffic will be domestic. We will look at collaborating with foreign airlines to enhance international connectivity as well,” Bircher said.

“We will make sure to support them with cost-effective processes, low-turnaround costs and seamless transfer facilities,” he added.

Furthermore, the upcoming airport aims to offer competitive, cost-efficient processes for all airlines, he said.

“As a greenfield airport, the NIA will provide the necessary space for overnight parking and sufficient peak hour slots for an airline that wants to strategically grow in the Delhi NCR region,” Bircher said.

Another major advantage of the airport will be its proximity to upcoming industrial clusters and tourist destinations of Agra, Mathura and Vrindavan.

“We believe regional traffic will hugely contribute to the recovery and revival of air travel in India. The airport is located strategically between Delhi and Agra, close to the fast-developing Noida and Greater Noida area,” Bircher said.

“The region with infrastructure, traffic and big catchment area, has a huge potential. We are even optimistic that the location will help in drawing more traffic towards the airport from connected regions, once operational in 2024,” he added.

The NIA is about 72 km away from the IGI Airport, about 40 km from Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, about 28 km from Greater Noida, 65 km from Gurugram and 130 km from Agra.

It is connected via Yamuna Expressway and other multi-modal transport options that are still in planning phase.

Last year, ZAIA had won the contract to build and operate the airport in Greater Noida for a period of 40 years.

It received the security clearance from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to develop the NIA at Jewar in May this year.

Business

Tesla, Ford only carmakers not gone bankrupt: Elon Musk

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Elon Musk. (Photo: Twitter/@elonmusk)

As several carmakers bleed in the US and beyond, Tesla is profitable and according to Elon Musk, his electric car company and Ford are the only two carmakers in the US which have not gone bankrupt.

Tesla reported another profitable quarter as revenue hit $10.74 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. In last year, Tesla achieved free cash flow of nearly $2.8 billion after spending more than $3 billion on building new factories and other expenditures.

US automaker Ford last month announced to more than double its investment in electric and autonomous vehicles to $29 billion. The automaker had previously committed to spend $11.5 billion on electrifying its vehicle lineup through 2022.

“Tesla & Ford are the only American carmakers not to have gone bankrupt out of 1000’s of car startups. Prototypes are easy, production is hard & being cash flow positive is excruciating,” Musk said in a tweet on Friday.

Ford CEO Jim Farley responded to his tweet, saying: “Respect”.

In 2020, Tesla produced and delivered half a million vehicles. In addition, Model Y production in Shanghai has begun.

Tesla this year also registered its Indian subsidiary with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) in Bengaluru, on January 8.

“2020 was a defining year for us on many levels. Despite a challenging environment, we’ve reached an important milestone of producing and delivering 0.5 million cars,” Musk had said.

On the other hand, Ford’s increased investment is aimed at catching up with the EV market leader Tesla and keep pace with other automakers like GM and Volkswagen.

“We are accelerating our plans right now, breaking constraints, increasing battery capacity, improving our costs and getting more battery electrics into our cycle plan,” Ford CEO Farley said last month.

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Adidas provides 100% support through its Formotion collection for all women making moves

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ADIDAS

In its commitment to creating an inclusive space in society for women, global sportswear giant — adidas, has launched Watch Us Move — a campaign to celebrate womanhood and their freedom of movement.

Through this campaign, adidas reaffirms its belief that just like in sport where body types don’t matter, our society is rising above caring for beauty standards.

As per adidas, what is important is that we unbiasedly care about our ambitions, hard work, stamina, willpower, and everything that comes from within. Sport is beyond caste, socio-economic status, physical and psychological barriers. Through ‘Watch Us Move’, the brand celebrates the positive movement of women who are spreading an infectious aura of rebellious optimism.

The launch of the campaign saw Manushi Chhillar, Dipika Pallikal & Nikhat Zareen coming together to narrate how they have broken unrealistic stereotypes of perfection through their incredible journey and positioned themselves as role models for young girls across the country.

Present at the launch, Sunil Gupta, Senior Director, brand adidas, India said: “Watch Us Move” is all about encouraging women to express themselves through movement. Every woman has her own definition of movement, of what progress looks like. They’re already taking action, creating in their own way. Yet many tell her what to do, how to look and who to be. With the launch of “Watch Us Move”, adidas aims to unshackle these expectations and provide 100% support for all women making moves as they move the world.

Speaking at the launch, Manushi Chhillar, Miss World 2017, said, “I am delighted to be a part of adidas’ powerful roster of women athletes who are super inspirational. ‘Watch Us Move’ celebrates women, their achievements and inspires us to keep a positive approach to life. It celebrates the fact that being feminine is powerful in every way, shape and form. Through this platform, I’d like to say we are ready to MOVE and now, more so than ever, it’s time for the world to ‘WATCH US MOVE’.”

Adding to this, Deepika Pallikal, Indian Squash Player, said, “Watch Us Move is a rallying call for all women to be the drivers of change for one another with their inspiring rebellious optimism. Through this campaign, I urge women to express themselves more freely and also to move & enjoy and see how this movement can do wonders to their bodies and minds for overall wellbeing.”

As part of the campaign, adidas is pushing boundaries to release product innovations that reflect women’s needs to access possibilities in sport and herself throughout the year. The campaign is timed with the arrival of adidas’ most supportive activewear range — Formotion — a collection that has been developed by an all-female design team to deliver maximum support, whilst offering a comfortable fit that works seamlessly with the body in motion. Formotion is a celebration of freedom and expression through movement and inclusivity for all women.

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IndiGrid inks largest transmission deal with Sterlite Power

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Power-demand

India Grid Trust, India’s first power infrastructure investment trust (InvIT), on Saturday signed a share purchase agreement to acquire NER-II Transmission Limited from Sterlite Power as part of the Framework Agreement.

The indicative value of the acquisition is Rs 4,625 crore and would boost IndiGrid’s AUM (asset under management) by 34 per cent to over Rs 20,000 crore ($2.8 billion).

Post completion, the platform’s asset portfolio would consist of 13 power transmission projects, with a total network of 38 power transmission lines and 11 substations extending over 7,570 circuit kilometers and 13,350 MVA in 17 Indian states and 1 Union Territory.

NER-II is part of Inter State Transmission Scheme (ISTS) network, and was awarded on a Build, Own, Operate, Maintain (“BOOM”) basis with a contractual period of 35 years. The project has 11 elements including two substations of 1,260 MVA capacity and four transmission lines extending over 830 circuit kilometres. The asset spans across Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura and is of strategic importance for the delivery of power in one of the toughest regions in the country. This project will strengthen the power transmission network in the North Eastern States and address the of transmission, sub-transmission, and distribution system needs of the region.

IndiGrid had signed a framework agreement in April 2019 with Sterlite Power for acquisition of NER-II upon commissioning. This transaction is expected to be consummated during Q4 FY21, subject to unitholders’ approval, regulatory approvals, and other customary closing adjustments. The acquisition will be funded through a combination of internal accruals, debt, equity proceeds from the preference issue done in May 2019 and forthcoming rights issue. Post this acquisition, the net debt/AUM would stand at 64 per cent.

Commenting on the acquisition, Harsh Shah, Chief Executive Officer of IndiGrid, said: “We are excited with acquisition of NER-II which is one of the largest acquisitions in Indian power transmission sector in India. NER-II fits well with our strategy of focusing on operating assets with long term cash flows and minimal counter party risk. This acquisition would be DPU accretive and augment our recent increase of DPU to Rs 12.40 per annum for a considerable period.”

Commenting on the transaction, Pratik Agarwal, Managing Director, Sterlite Power said, “This mega transmission project will help deliver reliable power for 5.3 crore people in India’s north eastern region.”

IndiGrid has acquired Rs 8,300 crore assets since the last capital raise including Rs 7,100 crore of Framework/ROFO projects from Sterlite Power and first cost-plus transmission asset from Reliance Ifrastructure. It has also announced its foray into the renewables sector with the planned acquisition of 138 MW solar asset. Separately, in FY21, KKR was inducted as a sponsor following the Rs 2,510 crore preferential issue in 2019 which was subscribed by KKR and GIC amongst other marquee investors. KKR has also acquired majority interest in the Investment Manager

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