DMIC's Dholera 'Aerotropolis' plans boosted with Airbus partnership

New Delhi, Jan 14: Plans to turn DMIC's key industrial node of Dholera into an aviation-centered economic zone and a defence and aerospace production hub have received a boost with Airbus coming on board as a strategic partner.

The European aviation giant will assist the Gujarat government in setting up an Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing cluster in the Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC).

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed between Mr Ajay Bhadoo, Managing Director, Dholera Industrial City Development Ltd (DICDL) and Pierre De bausset, President, Airbus India at the Vibrant Gujarat summit in Gandhinagar on Wednesday.

Airbus will assess the Dholera SIR region, which has a total footprint of over 920 sq. km, and provide its inputs on the requirements and infrastructure specifications for setting up the cluster, particularly for developing an ecosystem of suppliers for the assembly, testing, delivery and maintenance of rotary and fixed wing aircraft, including Naval utility helicopters.

Dholera is one of the eight smart city industrial zones being developed in the first phase of the DMIC project. Defence and Aviation MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operations) are chief among the industries that the SIR is looking to attract; other sectors include IT, Electronics, Bio-technology, Food Processing, Machinery and Auto components.

The development of an aerospace and defence cluster is expected to attract ancilliary industries which will contribute to the overall development of the industrial region.

"Indigenisation in the defence sector is a priority for the government and our task is to lay down the infrastructure for world-class manufacturing centres in these industrial zones," said DMICDC CEO and Managing Director Mr Alkesh Sharma. "Dholera has the advantage of large land parcels, stretegic location with air, road, rail and sea connectivity, skilled labour and planned infrastructure that is ideal for the setting up of a cluster of this kind."

The DMICDC is already looking to develop Dholera as an 'Aerotropolis'. The SIR will have its own airport to be built over 1,426 hectares of land in Navagam Village. The project is being managed and executed by a Special Purpose Vehicle, the Dholera International Airport Company Ltd (DIACL) and has received site and environment clearances.

The greenfield international airport, besides becoming a logistics hub for DSIR, will also help manage spillover traffic from the existing Ahmedabad International Airport in the future. It will also help handle the increasing traffic from the nearby cities of Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Nadiad and Anand.

The Ahmedabad International Airport and Bhavnagar’s Domestic Airport are just two hours' drive from the proposed airport site, which will have external connectivity through a proposed Express Highway and a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) from Ahmedabad to Dholera.

The Aviation Zone and MRO facility is planned over 2,500 hectares of adjacent government land. The Aviation Zone would consist of aircraft parts manufacturing, flight training institutes etc. and MRO services and operations like body, engine, paint and airframe.

Infrastructure implementation in Dholera SIR is taking place in a phased manner with an activation area of 22.5 sq. km developed in the first stage. Construction work in this area is in full swing.


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