Runway expansion of Mumbai Airport's Terminal 2 won't be an easy task

Jan 22 2014, 19:05 IST
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Mumbai Airport's T2 terminal, to be operational from February 12, can handle 40 million passengers a year. Mumbai Airport's T2 terminal, to be operational from February 12, can handle 40 million passengers a year.
SummaryA sixth of the Mumbai Airport's 1,982 acres of land is still occupied by slums.

Indian airline operators will need 1,450 new planes in the next 20 years. This is set to increase the congestion at Indian airports.

Improvements in air traffic control (ATC) procedures and creation of rapid exit taxiways (RET) have helped improve peak hour movements from around 35 to around 45-48 per hour, agrees Dubey, while an increase in the number of double-aisle aircraft and A-380s in the near future will enhance the airport's passenger capacity further. But, then the need of the hour remains a second airport.

“Mumbai needs a second airport. It is a critical national issue, which is unfortunately not being addressed seriously,” said Kapil Kaul, CEO, Center for Aviation (CAPA). “We need a second airport as we need more runways to ease congestion,” said Peeyush Naidu, senior director of Deloitte. “Multiple airport system, like those that exist in the European and American capitals, would solve the problem of the congestion at Mumbai,” he said.

Put on paper 27 years ago, the first phase of the R14,574 crore Navi-Mumbai airport project, is now expected to be completed by December 2017, according to Cidco, the nodal agency in charge of the airport, if the remaining project affected people (PAPs) allow the government to take their land to develop a new airport. The government is considering reclaiming land from the sea to make the airport—if PAPs refuse to part with their land—which will delay the project by at least two more years.

“I don’t see the second airport in Mumbai before 2020 as there is no certainty in resolving all outstanding issues,” added Kaul.

“India needs continuous investments in airport development. We need a more long term approach to our airport planning, including airside planning. Land scarcity will be a major issue and a barrier to expansion, and perhaps, viability,” Kaul pointed out.

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