THE STATE cabinet nod to the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) project has paved the way for construction of the airport to begin at the earliest. Officials said the cabinet nod was the final technical clearance required to begin work on developing infrastructure of the airport.
The much-awaited NMIA project is expected to ease the burden off the congested Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA). As per the nodal agency, the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO), the passenger count expected in the first year of operation is 10 million, which is estimated to increase to 25 million in 2025 and to 40 million in 2030.
The next step would be to issue a Letter of Award (LOA) of the contract to the GVK-led MIAL group that won the bid to build the airport. Both CIDCO and MIAL had bagged the financial deal on February 13.
“We only await the reception of LOA so that official work on routing financiers and other technical details could begin,” said an official from MIAL.
“We will issue the LOA to MIAL in the next one or two days. The CIDCO work will be completed by December 2018,” said Bhushan Gagrani, Managing Director, CIDCO.
“The MIAL can then begin work on financial closure, which includes finalising upon the financiers for the project,” said Mohan Ninawe, senior public relations officer, CIDCO.
NMIA will be executed on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis through a proposed special purpose vehicle (SPV) with 74 per cent private equity and 26 per cent (13 per cent each) by the state government routed through CIDCO and the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The first flight from the airport is expected to take off in 2019. “The first phase of the airport is expected to be completed by 2019. It will include the runway, terminal building and taxiways. The GVK group would have to arrange a funding between Rs 4,500- 5,000 crore to complete the first phase of the project,” Ninawe added.
CIDCO has already begun cutting work of the Ulwe hill since June this year. “CIDCO will complete the required field work for ground levelling, which includes hill cutting, blasting and river diversion work, in the next two years. The development of airport infrastructure and other levelling work will be executed simultaneously,” said Ninawe.
Officials said that the financial closure was expected within four months after the award of the LOA. “If the financiers of the project are in, it could take less than four months also,” said an official.
MIAL currently sees operation of as many as 45 flights exceeding to 48 in peak hours. The NMIA, expected to be operational since 2012, was delayed due to rehabilitation of the 3,500 project-affected families and a delay in closing the financial bid.