Historically, infrastructure has always been the reason for evolution of civilizations. It started with water (sea ports) as the mode of transportation. As a result, various human habitations like Shanghai and Rotterdam have evolved and grown as water transportation has been their lifeline. With the evolution and growth of mankind, various other sources of transportation have gained importance like road and railways that helped connecting various cities, thus leading to increase of business across the region. The new age trend of transportation, i.e. air transportation, is becoming the magnet of economic development.
An Aerotropolis, in simple terms, is a region where infrastructure and economic development are centered upon the airport development and operations. The main beneficiaries are aeronautical, air cargo and logistics-related companies. These businesses lead to development of large eco systems, as given below:
# Logistics and cargo hubs – transportation of high value products
# Commercial districts – office space requirement and associated retail areas
# Hospitality and MICE – stay, business meetings and conferences
# Entertainment – leisure activities for families on extended stay
Some of the main advantages of Aerotropolis development is as below:
# Rapid connectivity on massive scale: Many times, high-tech companies and advanced business services have supplies, partners and customers located in various parts of the world. Therefore, air transportation aid such companies to integrate in the most time effective manner.
# Movement of high skilled labor: Quite often, various businesses require high / specialized skilled manpower that needs to be available on an immediate basis, which is facilitated through air transportation.
# Connecting points: Many times, businesses require interactions with various stakeholders like government bodies, competitors, supplies, customers, business partners on the same platform to interact on strategies, new business ideas, etc.
# Tourism development: The commercial destinations are the direct source of feeding into various kind of tourist businesses, like leisure and entertainment parks, retail and F&B business, hospitality, medical tourism, etc.
It is perceived that airports which provide greater choice of flights, frequent services and flexibility in rescheduling are considered the most preferred destinations, thus leading to higher and speedy development of local economy. Primarily, the companies operating out of Aerotropolis regions enjoy the benefit of economies of scale and economics of scope, with speed and flexibility. As a result, various large-size corporates prefer to set up their corporate headquarters in the aerotropolis region.
An aerotropolis enjoys the benefit of being planned and less constrained with internal space as they are most of the times developed on greenfield basis. This is a great opportunity for all the stakeholders who believe in long term and sustainable development. As any other traditional city development, there is a core leading to suburbs. Likewise, an aerotropolis consists of an airport city at its core and outlines clusters of aviation linked businesses, commercial hubs and supporting residential developments.
Thus, an aerotropolis is a very dynamic and forward-looking concept, which not only leads to development of an ecosystem but also connects businesses, civilizations, and regions across the globe. The aerotropolis age will define and lead to the growth of various upcoming cities and force planners and developers to rethink of their modus operandi.
(By Amit Chawla, Associate Director, Valuation & Advisory Services, Colliers International India)