Friday, November 26, 2010

Second Mumbai Airport Receives Environment Ministry Approval

Aviation Daily Nov 25 , 2010 , p. 02

Neelam Mathews

After years of wrangling with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has finally received approval for the second international airport in Mumbai.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan jointly announced the project in a hastily called news conference.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has been pushing for a second airport, saying the current international airport in Mumbai cannot be extended any farther and has nearly reached its maximum handling capacity. The congestion at the airport is forcing many carriers to look at other airports, such as New Delhi, as alternatives. Mumbai’s current airport has a single runway and will not be able to cope with the growing air traffic.

The estimated $2-billion airport will be situated in Navi Mumbai, a suburb 50 km. (30 mi.) southeast of the center of Mumbai, home to 18 million residents.

The Navi Mumbai airport is spread over four phases and is expected to handle 10 million passengers in its first operational year, doubling to 20 million in eight years. The aim of the airport is to handle 40 million passengers by 2030.

Serious environmental issues associated with the Navi Mumbai location are the loss of mangroves, diversion of a river and removal of a hill.  

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