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Mumbai airport a nightmare, says Jet ED

Last updated on: September 27, 2010 10:12 IST

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BS Reporter in Mumbai

If the capacity and efficiency of Mumbai's airport is not increased urgently, airlines would be forced to drop Mumbai from their destination list, warned S K Datta, executive director, Jet Airways.

Datta said: "Managing operations at the Mumbai airport, which has nearly reached saturation in terms of handling airline traffic, has become a nightmare for airlines.

"Irrespective of when and where the second airport is developed, the government must decide, as an interim measure, to increase the existing capacity and efficiency of the current airport."

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Image: Mumbai airport.
Photographs: Jewella C Miranda
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He was speaking at a well attended roundtable titled 'Mumbai's Second Airport: It's Time to THINK BIG', jointly organised by Observer Research Foundation and Bombay First.

The proposed Panvel airport at Navi Mumbai would be a gross mistake, as it would reach saturation in just about 25 years after commencement of operations.

"When that happens Mumbai will not have land available for the development of a third airport," said aerospace analyst Hormuz P Mama, who has done a detailed report on the subject for ORF Mumbai.

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While Panvel is currently attracting much debate about its environmental aspect, a much more serious problem is that the site is too small for an airport of adequate size for Mumbai, said Mama.

The proposed airport would have an ultimate capacity of handling only about 50 million passengers, he said, about half of competing airports around India.

Delhi airport, for instance, is being developed to achieve an ultimate capacity of 100 million passengers per year.

According to the government's own traffic projections, Mumbai's two airports will together handle a total of 119 million passengers in the year 2031-32.

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Photographs: Jewella C Miranda
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However, their total capacity will be only 90 million passengers -- or less. How is Mumbai going to handle that traffic, he asked.

Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman, ORF Mumbai, said Mumbai city needs to be made world-class.

"We cannot view aviation as being elitist anymore. The aspirations of the common Indian citizens are rising and we have to ensure that we create infrastructure which will serve the growing demands of a young and dynamic India," he said.



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