GVK, the operator of the Mumbai International Airport (MIAL), has finally received the letter which confirms that they will be able to build the Navi Mumbai International Airport as well.
Mumbai for long had been a dump of an airport before GVK was handed over the contract to refurbish the airport and take over operations. They did a great job in bringing up Terminal 2, which now is a Museum + airport and one of the best in Asia, and perhaps even the world.
However, Mumbai Airport is significantly constrained due to it being landlocked in the midst of the city, and the Government has been wanting to move the airport to a greenfield patch of land for a very long time. They can’t even put up a third runway place, and the first two are cross runways. A blocked runway means their world goes for a toss. in The idea for the Navi Mumbai airport has been on the table since 1997, however, it only got the approval of the government in 2007.
From there, land acquisition and environmental clearances took another ten years. But earlier this year, when things started moving, bids were invited for the airport and it boiled down to GVK and GMR.
GMR, which operates the Delhi and Hyderabad airports, offered 10.44% revenue share to the government, GVK, the current Mumbai Airport operator, was willing to give 12.60% percent of revenue share.
The new airport, I don’t expect it to take off for another 4-5 years. CAPA projects a 2024 opening, but the Maharashtra Government expects it to take off in 2019. I don’t think that will happen.
With the current Terminal 2, GVK set the bar very high on how to make a great airport. I sure think they’d do a great job at it. But when will it open, we still need to see. We also would need to know if this is the second airport for Mumbai or will everything move to Navi Mumbai and then the Sahar airport shuts down.