New Delhi, Dec 27: Business and leisure hotels company Lemon Tree Friday announced the opening of its 500-room Delhi Aerocity property here.
According to the company, the new property comprises of brands – Lemon Tree Premier and Red Fox which will focus on the transit clientele segment in the region.
“We are very positive on the growth prospects in the transit and corporate segment. Air traffic from Delhi is bound to grows and so will this sector,” Patu Keswani, chairman and managing director, Lemon Tree Hotel Company told IANS.
When asked about the delays that was faced by the company in starting the new property Keswani said: “We are opening near after an year of obtaining all the required clearances. The peak travel season for us is over, but we are optimistic in the long-term prospects of this property.”
Currently, the property will only operate 350 rooms out of the 500 rooms capacity.
“There is certainly a keen interest in the government to push for investment and growth. However, red-tapism, security concerns and lack of planing has hurt the project. Out of 500 rooms, 150 have been sealed right now due to security concerns and clearances, as they overlook the runway,” Keswani said.
Lemon Tree Premier comprises 287 rooms, while Red Fox has 207 rooms.
This is the second such opening of hospitality property at the 45-acre Delhi Aerocity. Earlier JW Marriott, started operations in mid-October after gaining partial clearance from security agencies on October 7.
The Delhi Aerocity which has been conceived as hospitality and commercial district near the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The land was leased out by Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL), and is intended to be on a par with facilities in and around airports like Singapore’s Changi airport.
The project was slated to be completed before the 2010 Commonwealth Games is expected to provid 5,100 rooms and to generate 10,000 direct employment opportunities and 20,000 indirect employment.
However, security agencies including Delhi Police, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and others had raised concerns over the proximity of the hotels to the runway.
At 300 metres from the runway overlooking the VIP section of the airport was considered a threat and a slew of measures like bulletproof windows to intruder detection systems were recommended by an expert group which had gone on study tours at airports in Amsterdam and Dallas.
After a lot of representations, the Cabinet Committee on Investment, which was formed to fast-track stuck projects like the Aerocity, in July opted for a glass wall to be erected around hotels with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) providing the specifications.
Apart from an expected long-term growth in the Indian aviation sector, the hospitality district hotels are also betting on the fact that IGIA will possibly cater to two airlines as their a hub airport.
Currently, IGIA houses the hub operations of national carrier Air India. Indian industrial conglomerate Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines plan to launch a new full-service private carrier based in New Delhi.
Their proposal of the $100 million joint venture was approved by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in October. Officials of the proposed airline hope to launch services by May-June 2014.