Newly inaugurated 4.4 million sq ft facility will be operational from Feb 12

Come February 12, international travellers coming into Mumbai will get a feel of India’s culture and ethos at the airport itself.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday inaugurated the ambitious terminal 2, or T2, of the city’s airport, a 4.4 million square feet project which has been inspired by India’s national bird - the peacock.

“Very few airports in the world reflect the culture, ethos and vibrancy of their countries. That is why we wanted to create an airport terminal which is quintessentially Indian in its design and architecture,” said G. V. Sanjay Reddy, Vice-Chairman, GVK.

Among other things, the airport will be home to India’s largest public art programme. It will have a 3-km-long art wall that features 7,000 pieces of artefacts from different parts of the country.

The launch of operations has been pushed to February 12 in order to familiarise the various airport departments with the terminal's layout, facilities and systems. The terminal, which has been built at a cost of Rs 5,500 crore, will undergo a comprehensive security sweep in addition to airport transfer tests before the launch of operations.

More upgrades

Speaking at the inauguration, the Prime Minister said that the success of T2 should give a boost to other airport projects that have been structured on private-public partnerships.

“We plan to develop and operationalise 50 more airports across the country in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities,” Singh said.

T2 is expected to boost the airport’s passenger-handling capacity by about one-third to 40 million a year. It will have 208 check-in counters and 60 immigration counters for departing passengers against 38 now.

May regain business

The erection of T2 is the first major infrastructure refresh at the city’s airport in three decades and it may help it to regain some of the airport business it had lost to Delhi and other cities in the last few years.

Several airlines dropped Mumbai from future network expansion plans because of congestion issues. Last year Air India shifted base to Delhi from Mumbai while Singapore Airlines also held back its expansion for the city till recently. The Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture will make Delhi its operational hub.

(This article was published on January 10, 2014)
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