Work finally starts on a new Mumbai airport

Mumbai has started work on a new airport more than two decades after the project was first hatched as the need for more aviation capacity to serve the city grows.

Local media reported yesterday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation of Navi Mumbai International Airport, to be built on about 1,160 hectares of land.

It will be located about 35 kilometres southeast of the existing and capacity-stretched Mumbai International Airport – which handles millions more passengers than its 40 million limit and cannot grow further while airlines cannot get the slow they want.

The new two-runway gateway is set to handle about 60 million passengers, and speaking at the event, Modi reportedly said India is trailing behind in aviation infrastructure and it is going to press ahead with the speed of execution.

The first phase with one runway will be operational by December 2019, handling 10 million passengers a year, according to local officials. The second phase will be finished by 2022, taking the capacity to 25 million passengers.

The third phase will be completed by 2027, and the fourth phase by 2031, when the capacity will be 60 million passengers.

Navi Mumbai International Airport was first proposed in 1997 and approved a decade later by India’s cabinet. It will be built as part of a joint venture between a GVK Group, which holds a 74 per cent stake and the Airports Authority of India who hold the remaining stake along with Cidco.

India reportedly needs to shell out about $62 billion to expand and construct new gateways over the next 10-15 years to meet demand for air travel.