Second International Airport on the Radar

The government has given its blessings for a second international airport for Bombay. The plans for a second airport situated in New Bombay have been doing the rounds since the late 80’s. However successive governments have revived plans only to drop the ball soon thereafter.

However this time around, the repercussions of not having a second airport are grim and hence the political process has hastened to get the clearances.

The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of a new international airport in Mumbai through public-private partnership at a cost of roughly Rs9,970 crore.

Briefing newspersons after a Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said, “The Cabinet gave its in-principle approval for an international airport at Navi Mumbai realising the need of the growing traffic through the city.”

The airport will be developed as a greenfield (new) facility along the lines of such airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The civil aviation ministry had sought the Cabinet approval because the updated air-traffic forecasts had revealed that the number of passengers at Mum bai could reach 27.5 million per annum (mpa) around 2010. In 2015, the figure is likely to be 40 mpa, and more than 80 mpa in 2026.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport, even after factoring in the restructuring and moderni sation carried out by a consortium comprising GVK International and Air ports Company of South Africa, would be fully satu rated by 2013. “It was, therefore, imperative that the proposed second airport at Mumbai should be operational before 2013 to meet the increasing air traffic demand,” an official statement said. [link]