The Man Behind the Development of Cutting-edge Airports

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P. S. Nair is chairman of Delhi Aviation Fuel Facility Private Limited and senior advisor for the airport sector at GMR Group. Considering his prominent involvement in airports, it is appropriate to refer to him as a visionary architect whose imagination has taken flight in constructing some of India’s most famous airports and terminals.

Specifically, the T3 Terminal at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and the GMR Hyderabad International Airport. Thanks to Mr Nair’s vision, both world-class facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, modern amenities, and advanced technology to provide passengers with a seamless and comfortable experience.

Over the years, in India, airports have undergone expansions or enhancements to keep up with growing demand and technological advancements. This includes improvements to infrastructure, services, and security measures. In these endeavours, veterans like PS Nair have played a significant role.

For instance, as the CEO of GMR Hyderabad International Airport — India’s first PPP greenfield airport without the Government’s direct control — he was instrumental in successfully commissioning the Hyderabad International Airport ahead of schedule.

Mr Nair became CEO of Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd. in 2009, where he was in charge of the operational preparation, integration, and successful commissioning of the modern Terminal 3 facility. According to reports, he went above and beyond by evicting encroachers from the Airport Authority of India-owned land.

Mr Nair has an impressive academic and professional track record. A postgraduate in Public Administration with a PG Diploma in Public Sector Management from Leeds University (UK), P.S. Nair has over 40 years of diverse experience in the airport sector – both in the public and private domains.

He has held several senior positions, such as airport director of Trivandrum, Mumbai and Delhi International airports, executive director of cargo, Commercial and key infrastructure development departments, overseeing the respective functions on a pan-India basis with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which owns and operates over 125 airports in India.

A versatile persona, Mr Nair held the second position of full-time board member – an appointment by the ‘Appointments Committee of the Cabinet’ where he was responsible for personnel, administration, legal, commercial and land management functions. He opted for an early exit from AAI in May 2005.
Additionally, he had been an ex-officio director on the boards of directors of Hotel Leela Venture and Radisson Hotel. He is currently on the boards of various subsidiaries and JV Companies of GMR Group.
Mr. Nair has also served in several high-level task forces, committees, working groups and advisory committees formed by the Government of India in civil aviation. He played a pivotal role in developing Delhi Aviation Fuel Facility Private Limited. Also, he served as its founding chairman from 2009 to 2012 on rotation for a second term from 2016 to 2018 and the current third term from August 2022 onwards.
He was elevated to the board-level executive director position at GMR Airports Ltd. This holding company oversees the functioning of all the airport companies in GMR’s airport portfolio. He held this position until recently when he moved on to a more passive role as a senior advisor and board member of airport companies, JVs, and subsidiaries of group companies in the airport sector.
Mr. Nair had been nominated to the World Governing Board of ‘Airport Council International (ACI) World’, Montreal – the apex body of Global Airports. He was also the second vice president elected from amongst the 18 directors of the Hong Kong-headquartered ACI-Asia Pacific Regional Board for eight years.

Furthermore, the high-flying top executive is a government-nominated director on the Aerospace and Aviation Sector Skill Council board.

Apart from that, he is a recipient of several awards, including the Performance Excellence Award conferred by the Indian Institute of Industrial Engineering. He was recently presented the JRD Tata Award by the Aeronautical Society of India and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the ASSOCHAM.

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