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Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha says Navi Mumbai airport will get delayed

Although the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), which is developing Mumbai’s second airport in Navi Mumbai, expects the facility to be operational by 2021, minister of state for civil aviation, Jayant Sinha, said that it will take five years for the first few flights to take off from there.

Meanwhile, the aviation ministry will try to enhance flight capacity at Mumbai’s congested Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).

CIDCO officials had earlier said that one of the runways at the new airport would be operational by 2019.

Despite the delays and extensions for submission of bids for construction, GVK group, which is building the airport, recently set a new deadline of 2021 for commercial launch of the city’s second airport, which is expected to ease the burden of air traffic on Mumbai airport and increase number of flight operations to and from the city.

Sinha, who spoke through a video link on Wednesday at a summit hosted by aviation think tank Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) in Mumbai, said, “Mumbai remains the most bottlenecked single runway airport due to which aviation growth is a concern. There is no quick way to add capacity until the Navi Mumbai airport comes up in the next four to five years.”
Sydney-based CAPA, in their report last year, had said that the Mumbai airport, which has currently reached 94% of its maximum passenger handling capacity, will reach its saturation point in 2018.

The airport currently handles 45.2 million passengers and sees around 930 flight operations per day, and will handle 48 million passengers in 2018. Reaching its saturation would mean that it will increase additional daily flights by 48 this year.

CAPA in its 2017 report had said that the Navi Mumbai airport can be thrown open to passengers only by 2024 at the earliest. Owing to the delay in the city’s second airport, there could be severe congestion at Mumbai airport, stated the report tracking the city’s aviation traffic growth, which is the lowest among the six metros.

Speaking on the efforts made by the government to manage air traffic, Sinha said,“Every element in the system has to be worked upon. One of the most important challenges is airspace, and we are working closely with the air force to manage air traffic. Major research in air navigation systems is also under way.”


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