Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday inaugurated the state-of-the-art Terminal 2 (T2) at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and said work on the new airport at Navi Mumbai will start soon. International operations from T2, built at a cost of Rs 5,500 crore, will commence February 12, while domestic operations are expected to begin only in July 2015.
“Mumbai is a major source of enterprise and creativity which drives our economic growth. This city truly deserves world class facilities like the new T2 terminal. The new terminal has set a new global benchmark of functional efficiency and operational safety,” said Singh.
“I am happy that the PPP model has worked well in the civil aviation sector. The success of Terminal 2 should give a boost to other PPP projects, which are under implementation or at the planning stage,” he said. The Mumbai airport is being redeveloped by Mumbai International Airport Limited, a joint venture between Airports Authority of India and GVK-led consortium on a public-private partnership model.
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“Compared internationally, the propensity for air travel is currently very low in India. Our figure for domestic air trips per person is only about 0.05 per year, compared to 1.8 for USA, 0.25 for Brazil and 0.15 for China. There is, therefore, tremendous potential for growth of the civil aviation sector in the country,” the Prime Minister said, adding the government planned to develop and operationalise 50 more airports across the country in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
Singh also said the government has finally resolved all pending issues with regard to the Navi Mumbai Airport. “The Government of Maharashtra, in collaboration with the Central government, is now moving ahead on the work for this airport,” he said.
Inspired by India’s national bird peacock and constructed by over 5,000 workers, T2 has been designed by New York-based SOM. It can handle up to 40 million passengers annually.
Praful Patel, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, termed T2 as “the classiest public building ever made since Independence”. Minister of Civil Aviation Ajit Singh said, “T2 is a terminal and a museum at the same time.”