Since its initiation back in 2008, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad has delivered world-class services making it one of the most sought-after airports in the world.
With its technological prowess and magnanimous infrastructure, it has served and wooed weary air travellers who travel to the beautiful city in Telangana.
Yet, many of us are unaware of the years of dedication and planning that has gone in making this modern marvel.
So, let’s take a look at this airport’s journey and what it has achieved over the years.
In the 1930’s Hyderabad had its first airport known as the Begumpet Airport. It was used by the Nizam of Hyderabad for international and domestic travel and later was opened to commercial operations.
With the rise in popularity of air travel in the late 1990’s, Begumpet Airport was unable to handle the rising passenger traffic. The state government considered converting the Air Force Base in Hakimpet for civilian use, but the defence forces refused.
However, the Ministry Of Defence suggested three locations south of the Begumpet Airport, which were Bongloor, Nadergul and Shamshabad.
Due to its convenient location near two highways (NH 44/NH 765) and a railway line, Shamshabad was selected in December 1998.
In November 2000, the State Government and Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) on the greenfield airport project, establishing it as a public-private partnership. The State and AAI together would hold a 26% stake in the project, while the remaining 74% would be allotted to private companies.
Through the bidding process, GMR group and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) were chosen as the holders of the 74% stake. In December 2002, Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (HIAL), later renamed GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL), was created as a special purpose entity, into which the State, AAI and GMR–MAHB placed their stakes.
Construction of the new airport started on 16th March 2005 when Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone. Roughly three years after the foundation stone laying ceremony, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGAI) was inaugurated on 14th March 2008 amid protests.
The ‘Telugu Desam Party’ wanted to change the name of the airport. In addition, on 12th and 13th March, 20,000 AAI employees had conducted a strike against the closure of Begumpet Airport, as well as that of HAL Airport in Bangalore, fearing they would lose their jobs.
RGIA was originally scheduled to open for commercial operations on 16th March 2008, however, the date was delayed due to protests from some airlines over the high ground handling rates at the airport. Once the rates were reduced, operations commenced on 23rd March 2008.
Awards & Recognition
- It won the ‘CNBC Infrastructure Excellence Award’ for Airports in 2009.
- In 2009, it also bagged the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation’s (CAPA) award in the category, “Best Airport Environmental Performance of the Year”.
- Since 2010, RGIA has been in the Top 3 Rankings of Airports Council International’s (ACI), Airport Service Quality(ASQ) awards in the 5 to 15 Million Passengers Per Annum(MMPA) category. It has bagged the number 1 spot 4 times.
- RGIA was awarded the prestigious National Tourism Award in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 under the ‘Best Airport’ category.
- In 2011, GHIAL was awarded a ‘Certificate of Merit’ in the General Category Sector at the National Energy Conservation Awards, in recognition of the initiatives taken by them to conserve energy
- RGIA has been honoured with the ‘Best Cargo Airport & Best Cargo Terminal of the Year’ in 2012 & 2013, by the Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI).
- In 2013, RGAI had been judged as the ‘Best Emerging Airport’ in Indian Sub-Continent at the ‘Emerging Airports Awards’.
- RGIA was given the title of ‘Favourite Indian Airport’ at the Condé Nast Traveller India Awards.
- GHIAL received the “Quality Excellence Award for Best Customer Service Result” at the National Quality Excellence Awards in 2013.
- RGAI received the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Award for “Excellent Energy Efficient Unit” in 2014 and 2018.
Interesting Facts About Hyderabad Airport
- The GMR Aviation Academy & Asia Pacific Flight Training Academy are located inside the airport premises.
- GHIAL has been awarded the 5-star rating for its Health and Safety Management System from the British Safety Council.
- In fact, It was the first airport in the world to get a 5-star rating.
- It was the first airport in Asia Pacific to become Carbon Neutral by getting a ‘Level 3+’ certification from the Airports Council Of India, in recognition of their efforts to manage and reduce CO2 emissions.
- It’s the largest airport in India by the area covered. It is spread across 5459 acres.
- RGIA was the 1st airport in India to introduce E-Boarding for all domestic passengers.
If you want to know about things to do at the Hyderabad Airport, look no further. Download the AirWhizz app and get information about different places to eat, shop & relax at RGIA along with real-time flight updates the next time you fly.