After 17 months of delay, India’s environment minister Mr. Jairam Ramesh announced approval for the new Navi Mumbai International Airport, which many consider a half-baked idea for meeting the growing civil aviation needs of India’s financial capital.
Earlier this month the environment and civil aviation ministries had reached a compromise agreement on the environmental impact of the new Mumbai airport, including potential loss of 400 acres of mangrove forests, re-routing of two rivers and the flattening of a 90 foot tall hill. [Read full details here]. The two parallel runways will now have a lateral separation of 1,500 metres instead of the earlier 1,835. This will still permit parallel operations of the two runways.
The first phase of the new airport will be built by 2014-15, at a cost of around Rs. 42 billion (almost $1 billion) and will have a capacity of 10 million passengers per annum. The airport will be expanded in three additional phases to a final capacity of 40 million passengers, each phase adding 10 million passenger capacity and expected to cost around Rs. 20 billion ($500 million) per phase.
Mumbai International Airport Ltd. (MIAL), the operator of the current Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) said
We are happy to note that the process for development of the Navi Mumbai airport is moving forward. MIAL has a ROFR [Right Of First Refusal] for the Navi Mumbai airport and we look forward to participating in the bidding process when it is announced by the Government.