Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji In­ter­na­tional Air­port

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Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji is In­dia’s sec­ond busiest air­port af­ter Delhi, but de­spite the open­ing of its stun­ning new Ter­mi­nal 2, still has a rep­u­ta­tion among trav­el­ers. In part this is due to the hap­haz­ard na­ture

of the ter­mi­nal lay­out; Ter­mi­nal 1, which is ded­i­cated to do­mes­tic flights, is lo­cated in the San­tacruz sec­tion of Mum­bai. This fa­cil­ity is ac­tu­ally com­prised of three ad­ja­cent struc­tures, one of which is the orig­i­nal 1950s-era ter­mi­nal build­ing – although it’s un­der­gone con­sid­er­able ren­o­va­tions through the years.

Some 20 min­utes away by bus is the new T2, which was opened in 2014. The $1.5 bil­lion struc­ture is a strik­ing con­trast for Mum­bai, with nearly 5 mil­lion square feet of space across four lev­els. While both ter­mi­nals use the same run­ways and air­side fa­cil­i­ties, they are about as far apart as they can be – both phys­i­cally and aes­thet­i­cally – and still be coun­ter­in­tu­itively called the same air­port.

That leaves the state of Ma­ha­rash­tra’s cap­i­tal city with the tan­ta­liz­ing pos­si­bil­ity of its new green­field air­port at Navi Mum­bai. Long mired in pol­i­tics, the pro­ject has lan­guished since it was first pro­posed in 1997. In the past year, how­ever, the ini­tia­tive has re­gained mo­men­tum and now ground work ac­tu­ally un­der­way on the 5,700-acre site in the Kopar-Pan­vel area of Mum­bai.

Ac­cord­ing to re­cent news re­ports, much of the credit for the re­newed progress goes to the in­volve­ment of In­dia’s Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi. The pro­ject had been de­layed due to prop­erty dis­putes and ob­jec­tions of var­i­ous min­istries. How­ever most of these is­sues have been re­solved, and the City and In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (CIDCO), which is the agency spear­head­ing the pro­ject, says it has re­ceived a go-ahead from the cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

In De­cem­ber, Deven­dra Fad­navis, chief min­is­ter of Ma­ha­rash­tra, tweeted that the pro­posed Navi Mum­bai In­ter­na­tional Air­port will be op­er­a­tional by the end of the decade. “As all the en­vi­ron­men­tal-re­lated per­mis­sions are cleared for the pro­posed Navi Mum­bai In­ter­na­tional Air­port, this pro­ject will be op­er­a­tional by 2019,”Fad­navis posted on Twit­ter.

The new ter­mi­nal will have an area of 2.7 mil­lion square feet and over 1 mil­lion square feet of cargo space. When it opens, the air­port will be able to han­dle 35 mil­lion pas­sen­gers and ul­ti­mately 50 to 55 mil­lion pas­sen­gers an­nu­ally by 2025, ac­cord­ing to CIDCO.

The Honor Sys­tem

Per­haps the most telling mea­sure of the im­prove­ments at In­dia’s air­ports can be gained from a look at the re­cent in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion awards these fa­cil­i­ties have gar­nered in the last few years.

Air­ports Coun­cil In­ter­na­tional named Delhi’s Indira Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Air­port the World’s Best Air­port in 2014 in the cat­e­gory of air­ports han­dling 25 to 40 mil­lion pas­sen­gers per year.

Like­wise Hy­der­abad’s Ra­jiv Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Air­port was ACI’s Third Best Air­port in the World in five to15 mil­lion pas­sen­gers per year cat­e­gory in the Air­port Ser­vice Qual­ity (ASQ) Awards for 2014. This is the 6th con­sec­u­tive year RGIA has been among the top three air­ports in its cat­e­gory.

Mum­bai’s Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji In­ter­na­tional Air­port was ranked third among the World’s Most Im­proved Air­ports by the Sky­trax World Air­ports Awards 2015 and was named one of the Top 5 air­ports in Cen­tral Asia. CSIA was also one of the Top 5 Air­ports world­wide among those in the 25 to 40 mil­lion pas­sen­gers cat­e­gory in the ACI Air­port Ser­vice Qual­ity Awards 2014.

While awards by them­selves are no guar­an­tee of a great air­port ex­pe­ri­ence, they do pro­vide a barom­e­ter for ris­ing ex­pec­ta­tions. And in a na­tion where ex­pec­ta­tions are rapidly be­com­ing re­al­ity, these gate­ways are cer­tainly in­dica­tive of a promis­ing fu­ture.

Im­age: Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji In­ter­na­tional Air­port

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