Industry Speak

Yuvraj Agarwal

Laqshya Media Pvt. Ltd.

Airport Advertising looks all set to take-off, as Laqshya Media creates a showcase at the RGIA, Hyderabad

"Laqshya Media' is an Indian company, and for us the value and the over-all feeling that 'RGIA, Hyderabad' brings with it, is very different from what it would to any other International player, because for them, it would have been just like another airport, but for us it is an opportunity to create a world class showcase - an airport, that would be at par with the world's best."
March, 2008

Airport advertising lets business-travelers know that in each market they can access the same secure services that they are accustomed to. As for leisure travelers, they like to be aware of the trusted brands that they can access or purchase at a new destination, and this familiarity extends their comfort in traveling. Also, the effect of having seen an advertiser advertising within an international environment delivers a great impression of the brand that lasts long after the traveler returns home. All that and more will now be a reality at the New RGIA (Rajiv Gandhi International Airport), Hyderabad- As Yuvraj Agarwal, Chief-Operating-Officer-Airport& Ambient Media, Laqshya Media Pvt. Ltd., re-affirms us on the same and re-assures us, that Airport Advertising at RGIA, Hyderabad will take off to a new high, making the companies, brands etc., realize the effectiveness in reaching the captive audience who are typically educated.

Excerpts from the interview are as follows:

1. Why 'Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad'?

As far as the development of Airports in India is concerned, it is a very recent phenomenon. Till couple of years back, there were hardly any 'Green-Field Airports' in the country that we could have thought of .This entire industry i.e. The Airport Media Industry is something which is very new to India. Over the last so many years, we have typically seen all those AAI controlled Airports- who have certain levels of operations, maintenance, and customer service.

The over all ambience and feel that one actually gets along with the world-class services, at International airports abroad, is something which was totally missing in the Indian Market.

We could see a ray of hope in the last two years when the govt. decided to privatize the Delhi and Bombay Airports, but generally these two airports even after privatization have there own lists of concerns including space issues.

If you look at RGIA, Hyderabad; and compare it with any other airport in the country today, you will notice that it's the first green field airport in the country, its an airport which is build from scratch- as there is no existing structure that was there and modified into giving it a new international look, it's a totally new airport, with a totally international class design and a totally new ambience.

So, when I talk about RGIA, all I can say is that, it will be something in comparison to any good International Airport in the world, and you can compare it to probably a Singapore Airport, or to a Hong Kong Airport. Now that is the kind of ambience that we are talking about.

Having said that, if you look at that kind of an ambience obviously, the media advertisement support that you have in the airport terminal, as well as on the approach road that leads to the airport has to be of the international standards, i.e. why the obvious interest for us to develop a showcase for the world and we can say to the world that we have arrived i.e. India has arrived.

So, tomorrow if a foreigner, actually lands at a RGIA, Hyderabad; he will find no difference in what he might see at a Singapore Airport, in terms of over all ambience, airport advertising, customer service, because every thing will be in-sync of what you expect of international quality and that is what we will provide at the Hyderabad Airport.

2. With RGIA, Hyderabad being a 'Public-Private Joint Venture' between the GMR Group, Malaysian Airport Holding Berhad ( MAHB) and both the State Government of Andhra Pradesh and Airport Authority of India ( AAI), Don't you think that with so groups in you might face some hurdles for clearances ?

GMR, which is the airport operator holding company for RGIA, Hyderabad; is the single authority, that is responsible for all clearance with respect to the 'New Hyderabad Airport'. There is a consortium which is in place in which there is a minority share holding of (AAI) Airport Authority of India, Government of Andhra Pradesh, (MAHB) Malaysian Airport Holding Berhad, but the entire decision making body is GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited, which is controlled by the GMR Group. So it's a single window clearance there is no problem of taking clearances from 10 different people. All clearance is routed through a single party.

3. Share with us the winning amount, and the duration of time, for which Laqshya Media Pvt. Ltd., got the RGIA, Hyderabad?

The duration of the RGIA, Hyderabad contract was for 7 years- which is again a first in the history of Indian Industry. So, we came up with our research and business plan that reflected our commitment to make RGIA, Hyderabad; a truly world class international airport. GMR considered this and that is how we have got this concession period of 7 years. Now as far as the bidding amount is concerned, we are not allowed to disclose the same in public.

4. Has Laqshya Media Pvt. Ltd., got the entire airport for branding or are there any mediums which are not included in the contract?

We have got the entire approach road which is an 8km stretch, and leads to the airport and is entirely on GMR land, so that along with the entire passenger terminal building (which includes areas such as both the International & Domestic Arrivals& Departures), and the 'Airport Village' (which is a common area where all common people can gather) is all available to us, all-in-all, we are the sole advertising concessionaires for RGIA, Hyderabad for the next 7 years.

5.  Is this by any chance going to be India's First Eco Friendly Airport?

Definitely yes, we are providing various energy saving technologies, which will help us in reducing the usage of electricity, apart from that we also looking at digital panels which will lessen the pollution, and reduce the over all consumption of electricity, as well as reduction of waste. This will again create a benchmark as far as the Indian Industry standard is concerned.

6. Airports today, are being considered a Transit media; don't you think that you need to have a strategy for using the Digital media?

We have a definite strategy, and for the same we had deployed some of the best professionals and strategic consultants from South Africa, U.K., Singapore, Hong Kong, which is why today, we have the best possible digital solution and media plan that will give the best mileage to both the advertisers, as well as to the customers from around the world.

7. Is it true that this New RGIA is big enough to cater around 15million passengers by 2015 and is equipped to accommodate the eight story tall, Airbus A-380 on the world's longest runway at 4.26 km and the tallest air traffic control tower in the country at 75 metres?

Yes, all the facts are true, and as far as the capacity is concerned, the current terminal building that has been constructed at the New RGIA, will in future be able to support around 15.20 million passengers by 2015. To tell you an interesting fact – The over all passengers figures for Hyderabad is growing at a phenomenal pace, i.e. if you look at the growth in the number of passenger, the footfalls at Hyderabad airport, is growing at more than 40% per-annum, which is the highest in India, even when compared to Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi.

8. Who along with you were your competitors when it came to bidding for this new Hyderabad Airport and by what margin did you win?

All I can disclose to you is at first, it started around with 9 competitors, then eventually it got down to 3 competitors and finally the rights were given to us. We are officially not allowed to disclose the names of our competitors, but all I can say is that all the major International players, who are in India were in the fray, as this was the first of its kind of an opportunity in India.

Laqshya Media, is an Indian company, and for us the value and the over-all feeling that RGIA, Hyderabad brings with it, is very different from what it would bring to any other International player, because for them, it would have been just like another airport, but for us it is one of the biggest and best green field airport in the country.

9. What kind of revenue are you looking to give to the government, coz as per our sources TDI is currently giving revenue of approx. Rs.38 lakhs per month?

Thanks to the privatization that has taken place today; we are talking about figures which will be at par with some of the highest revenue figures in the world. Because if you look at the over all revenue share which the GMR and the govt. will be getting it will among the highest when compared to any where in the world. Those are un-thinkable figures and as of now we are not allowed to disclose those figures, but on the approx, I can share with you that the revenues will be upwards of Rs.500crores, in the next 7 years.

10. Do you think that in Hyderabad you still have to sell the concept of Airport Advertising? And do you think that 'Muti-national Brands' will cater to this new Hyderabad Airport? Because generally it has been observed that the 'Muti-national Brands', go in for Metro's and not Micro Metro cities like Hyderabad?

It's a totally new ball game for us; we will be creating a totally new structure, which will be a first for the Indian market, where we will be creating a totally new arena for International Brands and International advertisers to come to the Indian Airport market and advertise directly at the RGIA, Hyderabad.

And for the same, we will be creating packages, we will be working on our network across the world- and bring brands directly from places like-London, Middle East, Singapore etc. to come and advertise in the Indian market and till now, I think these brands have remained away from the Indian Market, because of the lack of quality infrastructure, but tomorrow when they will see the kind of International quality infrastructure at New Hyderabad Airport, they will realize that it is at par with Heathrow or Changi Airport, and will definitely like to come to India and advertise on the world class venues.

11. How do you think you will make this contract into a lucrative deal for yourself and justify your bidding amount?

Airport advertising at RGIA, Hyderabad; will make the most of new technologies in order to attract passenger attention. The airport environment will be unique and will clearly be an 'avant-garde' player and pioneer in many ways for new, exclusive and creative media solutions.

Am confident that with a 7 year contract in hand, both the GMR Group, and Laqshya Media Pvt. Ltd., will not only meet the projected revenues, but will also benefit from the deal in a big way.

12. According to Mr. kiran Grandhi, Chairman – Airports, GMR Group: “After the completion of the first phase the expected passenger traffic will be close to 12 million passengers per year from the originally envisaged level of 5- million passengers”. Do you think that there are enough hotels and other commuting facilities to cater such kind of a passenger footfall in Hyderabad and will it be well connected to the city?

On the footfalls and the facilities, I would like to say that Hyderabad is already growing by leaps and bound, if you actually see, you will notice that many hotels have come up right in the airport premises, there is a business hotel by the name of GMR Novotel, which is on the verge of completion, near the airport terminal building itself. There are other hotels and food chains that are coming up, and as it is a growing market, the entire ambience within the Hyderabad city is also changing, which is evident from a huge elevated express-way i.e. being constructed from Begum Pet to the new RGIA, Hyderabad.

The Gartner analysis of metro in developing economies puts Hyderabad ahead of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore in terms of growth, facilities and future prospects. It clearly states: Hyderabad will be a mega city by 2010and it will overtake Bangalore as the new silicon valley of India.

Along with that GMR will also be providing other commuting services to the passengers from the city and to the new airport, and vice-a versa- which again will be at par with the likes of Paris. There is also a 'Metro Train' which is coming up at Hyderabad, the entire project is already on and the bids have already been received for the same.

So, in the near future Hyderabad will have its own 'Metro', which will run to the new airport, similar to the one you see at KL Airport in Malaysia and again it will be a first of its kind in India. All these facilities will make the passengers at ease, apart from that there are 'Multiplexes', two SEZs, new residential facilities, service apartments etc., that will give the feel of an International ambience not only to the Airport but also to the city.

As far as the Connectivity to the Airport is concerned, GMR is closely involved in supporting the efforts of the government of Andhra Pradesh to improve and enhance connectivity to the airport.The major access points to the Site are from NH-7 (on its west) and Srisailam SH (on its east) besides the proposed Outer Ring Road. Also, a first of its kind elevated expressway (11.5 kms) will connect passengers from the city to NH-7 and from there to an expanded four-lane NH road leading to the new airport. And if we go by the projections, in the next 5 years Hyderabad is going to be a world class city.

Interview by: Nitin Sharma

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