The Surat Diamond Association (SDA) and the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the government provide an international airport at Surat as soon as possible to facilitate smooth imports and exports of polished and rough diamonds, write The Times of India. Estimates are that polished diamonds worth $21 billion are processed in Surat and exported to various countries via Mumbai every year, while India imports approximately $14 billion in rough diamonds annually. SDA president and GJEPC's regional chairman, Dinesh Navadiya said, "It is our long pending demand for international airport at Surat. Surat is the hub of diamond manufacturing in the world and it doesn't have even domestic connectivity, forget about the international airport. We have strongly represented the PM to consider long pending demand."
Navadiya added, "The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has sent the proposal for custom-notified airport, which is likely to be considered in a short span of time. We would require cargo facilities, so that Surat could be directly connected with Antwerp and Dubai, the two main diamond hubs of the world." At present, the custom house facility operates at the Surat Hira Bourse (SHB), where a substantial amount of diamond imports and exports are conducted. If the same facility is created at the airport, advocates say it will provide a big boost to the diamond industry.