Aero City: An Evolving Concept in the Urban Development
The level of connectivity and commute systems in a city reveals a lot about the economic prosperity and development of that city. The 21st century has witnessed a rapid development of the airways industry, making it an integral part of our transportation system. Although establishing an airport is a massive investment, it can bring large revenue into the economy and promote growth in the valuable industries. In India, major travel hubs such as the airports have undoubtedly led to major regional development.
Today, the frequency and volume of airport footfall can tell us a lot about how a city is prospering in terms of employment, tourism, hospitality and essential businesses. This type of reliance on airports for a city’s growth is the beginning of an airport centric future called aerotropolis.
What is an Aerotropolis?
In simple words, an aerotropolis is a metropolitan area developed in and well beyond the airport premises. It involves the development of an airport based city, with air travel at its core surrounded by commercial, educational, entertainment, healthcare and hospitality centers.
The idea behind developing non-aeronautical services around the airport is to make use of the speed of transportation and connectivity that is offered by airports.
Advantages of Aerotropolis
Growth of Businesses
The airports act as connectivity points for suppliers, customers and business partners to interact. This is one of the main reasons why many companies strategically develop their headquarters near the airport complex. The development of commercial office spaces in aerotropolis will ensure faster and more efficient transactions, interactions and delivery of services that would reduce significant costs of logistics for businesses. Moreover, businesses can benefit from the economies of scale provided by the storage facilities and cargo centres.
The development of various recreational centers such as shopping malls, entertainment centers, cultural centers such as museums, regional art, hotels, spas and state of the art office spaces in the aerotropolis will boost the tourism sector of the city. The attractive aerotropolis infrastructure will act as a beacon and will represent in many ways, what the city has to offer. This will attract many tourists from both within the country and abroad.
The construction of a complex airport based metropolitan city will definitely open up various employment generating avenues. The essential structure of aerotropolis is to develop a hub for various commercial and hospitality avenues that would encourage many companies to invest in this space in order to expand and make use of this elaborate platform. This will open up many jobs in the commercial sales, hospitality, management, logistics and entertainment sector.
Growth of Hospitality Sector
The creation of aerotropolis as already discussed will revolutionize the tourism industry and it’s no doubt that it will bring in more business to the hospitality industry as well. Hospitality is the backbone of many industries, especially the tourism industry. With its strategic location within an aerotropolis, hotels, spas, customer help centers and restaurants are set to grow.
Development of State of the Art Infrastructure
The development of aerotropolis will promote the growth of state of the art infrastructure. These well-developed and futuristic spaces will attract many businesses and investors seeking to profit from this promising venture. It will definitely put the city on the map for investors on the look-out for tremendous growth potential. Metropolitan developments such as aerotropolis will also strengthen the city’s position in terms of global competition.
Aerotropolis Projects in India
The Delhi Aerotropolis (IGIA)
With the Indira Gandhi International Airport at its nucleus, the Aerocity in Delhi is a commercially vibrant and sustainable urban city within a city. Delhi Aerocity has direct links to Gurgaon, which is the commercial hub NCR region. This urban center boasts a variety of luxury hotels, restaurants, pubs and shopping complexes. The development of ‘Terminal 3’ with the new integrated and state of the art design is a great example of the development of aerotropolis in Delhi.
GMR Aerotropolis is being built as a “Secure, Smart, and Sustainable Commercial District,” the first of its kind in India. It encourages experiential living through work, play, fitness, world-class cuisine, and entertainment options, as well as providing highly connected and interactive urban areas for the airport community’s socioeconomic development. The first phase of Aerotropolis, dubbed Hospitality District, is now home to more than 15 hotels, three Grade A offices, and retail spaces, as well as well-designed public amenities.
GMR Aerospace and Industrial Park, Hyderabad
With the expansion in the idea and industrial demand for aerotropolis, GMR has planned to develop an aerospace and industrial cluster as a part of GMR Hyderabad International Airport. As a multi-product special economic zone (SEZ), the Hyderabad Aerotropolis City will provide an integrated ecosystem with theme-based development zones that include main centers and establishments, such as a Business Center, a Health Center, an Education Center, a Fun Center, a Retail Park, a Logistics Park, and an Aerospace Park.
GMR has chosen this strategic location that is well connected by railway, road and air. This strategic location and design will offer an efficient supply chain management to businesses.
Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), Bengaluru
Bengaluru has been described as India’s first true aerotropolis in the making following a thorough study of the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) and the region under the control of the Bengaluru Airport Area Planning Authority (BIAAPA). Bengaluru’s strategic position, regional connectivity, infrastructure, regional economy, operational ability, governance, and real estate demand are all factors that could propel it to the top of the airport capital rankings.With increased air traffic, the infrastructure of existing airports became overburdened, necessitating modernization and upgrade.
Andal Aerotropolis, Durgapur
Andal Aerotropolis is a joint venture between Singapore’s Changi International Airport(CIA) and Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Limited (BAPL). It has brought about a huge change in West Bengal’s industrial landscape. The project boasts a greenfield airport, aviation-intensive businesses and related industries, clusters of business parks, logistics parks, industrial parks, and a township in Durgapur Aerotropolis. This housing township will have state-of-the-art industrial, civic, and social infrastructure.
The development of aerotropolis is a very forward-thinking idea that not only promotes ecosystem growth but also links industries, cultures, and regions all over the world. It has a great scope to prosper in India given its strategic location, important commercial hubs and strong economic presence globally. More importantly, aerotropolis possesses the scope to be identified as potential real estate investment avenues that are only set to grow in the future. This burgeoning era of aerotropolis will characterise and push the development of a number of potential cities, forcing planners and developers to reconsider their strategies.
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An aerotropolis is a type of urban development that has an airport city at its heart and agglomerates aviation-related as well as non-aviation related businesses around it, transforming it into a vibrant investment hub.
The heart of an aerotropolis is an ‘airport area,’ which includes shopping malls, spas, museums, and regional art; logistics and air cargo; hotels and entertainment; office and retail complexes, and is surrounded by clusters of aviation-related businesses. Aerotropolises, according to experts, have a major economic influence that stretches up to 90 kilometres.
An aerotropolis functions like any traditional city with essential requirements of any settlement such as organised commercial spaces, offices, health centers and educational infrastructures in place. Except, unlike traditional cities, its center of operation lies in and around the airport premises.