Manmohan Singh unveils new terminal of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated Terminal 2 (T2) of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai on Friday. He described it as “world-class” and an ideal example of a successful public-private partnership (PPP) model.

“The terminal is expected to establish new global benchmarks of functional efficiency and operational safety for airports. It also exemplifies our ability as a nation to build world-class infrastructure. I have no doubt that this terminal will fulfil the expectations we have from it and make us all proud,” Dr. Singh said.

Former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, now Union Minister for Heavy Industries, who initiated the privatisation of airports said that his dream of having a world-class airport in Mumbai had been fulfilled with T2. “Mumbai has acquired a new landmark that is T2,” he said.

T2 promises far superior passenger experience and will enhance the stature of Mumbai, the birthplace of Indian aviation, thanks to its unique design and grand facilities. “T2 is another milestone in Indian aviation, especially Mumbai which is an infrastructure deficit city. It should inspire the Maharashtra government to fast-track pending infrastructure projects. The look and feel of the new terminal is excellent. This will result in a positive customer experience,” Kapil Kaul, CEO South Asia, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), told The Hindu.

Although the project has come up behind schedule and with a cost overrun, it is one of a kind. The Jaya He wall depicting Indian art spread over 80,000 sq ft, and its mega roof covering 50,000 sq metres built with 18,000 tonnes of structural steel, is sure to attract worldwide attention.

The mega 11-acre roof of T2 is an engineering feat and has been embedded with special dichroic lenses that move with the direction of the sun. The roof is inspired by the dance of 1000 white peacocks. T2 comprises four levels and the size is 4.3 million square feet, with a passenger-handling capacity of 40 million per annum as compared to 36 million at T3 of the Delhi airport. The size of the check-in hall is nearly 400,000 square feet. It has 2,13,46 sq metres of retail space, 53,000 sq ft of landscaped garden with 80 different plant species. T2 has India’s biggest parking area, with a capacity to park 5,000 cars.

The new terminal boasts India’s tallest airport escalator, which is 11.6 metres in height and serves from the 6th to the 10th level of the multi-level car park. The terminal’s transportation facilities also include 72 lifts, 48 escalators and 37 travelators.

The T2 design combines international and domestic passenger services under one roof. Domestic operations will shift next year. The terminal has 188 check-in counters and around 6.4 km of conveyor belts for transporting baggage. The total length of the terminal’s external facade is 2.92 km. Reputed firms from 32 countries worked to build T2 which has access to natural sunlight during the day.

The modernisation of the Mumbai airport became possible only after the demolition of several buildings, including the old terminal on the Sahar side of the airport. According to officials, the terminal building cost Rs 5,500 crore, out of the total project cost of Rs 12,500 crore. Initially, the airport modernisation project cost was estimated at Rs 5,800 crore which was revised to Rs 9,800 crore before it was further revised upward to the present cost.

“When GVK was entrusted with building the new international airport at Mumbai, our vision was to be one of the world’s best airports that consistently delights customers. The CSIA is an engineering marvel with state-of-the-art technology, features and amenities, all combined with breathtaking, India-inspired design. We are proud to have created an airport that is a tribute to Mumbai and the nation,” said G.V.K. Reddy, Executive Chairman, GVK Group, in a message.