India's civil aviation market is today the ninth largest in the world from being a virtual non-entity some years ago and it can be among the top five in the world in the next few years, according to Union minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel. Speaking at the unveiling of the new domestic passenger terminal 1C at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), developed by the GVK Group-led consortium, Mumbai International Airport Ltd. (MIAL), Mr. Patel commended the management of GVK for re-developing the airport which, as a project, was “very constrained in terms of encumbrances and encroachment.” There were more than 80,000 families living in the periphery of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA). “While one would like to see encroachment-free premises, one would also like to see all these families living in new houses and as a beginning, this year 20,000 new dwellings will be created as part of an innovative Slum Rehabilitation policy by the government.”
Speaking on the occasion, Ashok Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra said that there were about 24 airports across Maharashtra and “all Tier-2 cities should be connected to Mumbai so there are job opportunities available in all parts of the State.”
The Civil Aviation Minister responded by saying that in the north-eastern states, the Central Government provides a reverse subsidy of Rs. 35-40 crore annually for inter-state connectivity. “So in Maharashtra with a budget of more than Rs. 1-lakh crore, the same amount can be spent for intra-state connectivity. The ministry assures full assistance and a blueprint of how to proceed.”
Mr. Patel also said that the Maharashtra Government needed to seriously look at sales tax on aviation turbine fuel (ATF). “It is very high and needs to be given a re-think. Andhra Pradesh brought it down successfully to 4 per cent and Maharashtra should also seriously think about it. Initially, there will be a loss of revenue but the economic multiplier more than makes up for the revenue loss and therefore I request the chief minister to look at it objectively.”
G. V. Krishna Reddy, Chairman, MIAL, said, “at MIAL, our focus has been on enhancing passenger experience and the opening of 1C is yet another testament to our endeavour to give passengers a world-class travel experience.”
A section of departing passengers checking in at terminal 1A and 1B will be facilitated through terminal 1C, the second level of which has a large security hold area for passengers post check-in. Designed with a high roof and glass façade, the area has a seating capacity of around 900 passengers. It also has around 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space including a 4,250 sq. ft. common lounge for all airlines where passengers can relax. The CSIA is one of India's busiest airports having recorded passenger traffic of 25.6 million in 2009-10 and cargo traffic of 5.51 lakh tonnes. MIAL is now implementing a master plan to have an integrated passenger terminal (terminal 2) at Sahar Airport (the international airport) ready by 2013 to cater to 40 million passengers annually.