Feb 1: Efforts to empower the Mumbai airport have been hit due to the delay in materializing the Navi Mumbai Airport, according to Minister of State of Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha. The Minister who addressed the annual CAPA (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation) summit via a video link, said this is the only reason why the enhancement of the busiest single-runway airport of the world is being delayed. According to the Minister, the Navi Mumbai airport will have to wait for “four or five years” for completion. However no further details were shared on the development plans of the the current airport.
Reports quoting the Minister said that Mumbai maintains as the only single-runway airport, which is indeed a matter of concern. Saying that there is no quick remedy to the hitch until the Navi Mumbai airport comes up in the next four to five years, he added that the private partner for the Navi Mumbai International Airport is the GVK Group, which also runs the Mumbai airport.
The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) which acts as the implementing agency of the project, has claimed that the first phase of Navi Mumbai airport with 10 million per annum capacity would be operational by 2021.
The Mumbai airport handled over 45 million passengers last year which is beyond its installed capacity of 40 million. The city airport is frequented by 970 flights a day, which approximately is one aerial activity in every 65 seconds.
Talking on the government’s efforts to address the issue, Sinha said that the growth of the aviation sector is dependent on the increased number of airlines and slots available in major airports. He added that six to eight helicopters shall be out at flight as part of the regional connectivity scheme soon to connect smaller cities.
Responding to CAPA’s complaint that the bilateral pacts with other nations were affecting the international growth plans of domestic airlines, he said low cost direct international flights are the need of the hour, for which wide-body planes are a must.