By Accommodation Times Bureau
NMIA – Navi Mumbai International Airport –currently proposed for development and one of the world’s largest “Greenfield” international airports; is unlikely to be ready for operations before 2022; said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis set a deadline of 2019 for the completion of the airport; earlier this year; which was once revised to 2020.But the IATA DG’s statement is now proving the government’s 2020 deadline, to initiate commercial operations on the NMIA; as a highly ‘unrealistic’ goal .
“The second airport (Navi Mumbai) will be effective at best in five or six or seven years,” said Juniac in an interview to TOI during the three-day IATA annual general meeting held last week. His statement wasn’t India specific. “Everywhere it’s the same. The only airport that was built faster was Istanbul (Turkey),” he said, relevant to the expected time the NMIA going to take in developing. Juniac was the Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM earlier and having over 20 years experience in the airline industry.
This year, the state government has realized the fact, that the Mumbai airport is saturated beyond capacity, and that the delay in construction of the second airport for Mumbai will bring issues and upshots. Because, as we know, India’s domestic air passenger traffic has topped the global chart for the highest growth rates, 24 months in a row. IATA forecast says that India will displace the UK as the third largest aviation market by 2026.
Mumbai scrambled Japan and became the third largest domestic aviation market in the world, in the beginning of this year. As the busiest single-runway airport in the world, Mumbai also displaced London Gatwick with 45.2 million passengers (in the fiscal ending March 2017). In the India aviation growth story, Mumbai is one of the key provender of the demand, but is nagger as long as space is considered. Its single runway handles over 850 flights per day .This data is showing the issues the NMIA is going to face.
Juniac said, “Since Mumbai is one of the key cities, it will be detrimental to not solve the airport issue. It will constraint the traffic and will affect the development of Mumbai and the development of India. It’s logical”. Mumbai is having heavy International traffic, that’s why the NMIA will have to be well –equipped to serve the passenger growth. “How many slots are available to bring all these planes (from Tier 2, 3 cities under RCS) to Delhi or Mumbai ? That’s a challenge,” adds Juniac.