Mumbai’s new international airport cleared for take off

The airport, expected to be ready in four years, is spread over 1,160 hectares – currently a mangrove area – with the aim of it being able to handle 60 million passengers a year by 2030.

Four bidders have been shortlisted for the Navi Mumbai International Airport building contract. Punit Paranjpe / AFP
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Plans for a long-delayed new airport for the Mumbai region seem finally to be inching forwards.

The 140 billion rupee (Dh8.1bn) project, Navi Mumbai International Airport, has received clearances from authorities and has shortlisted bidders. Navi Mumbai is a satellite city of Mumbai.

The airport is expected to boost investment, economic activity and property prices in the area.

"Enhancement in aviation facilities for Mumbai is essential to maintain the leadership of the state of Maharashtra in attracting foreign direct investment," according to the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (Cidco), the planning agency for the project. "The existing airport at Mumbai is fast reaching saturation. Therefore a second airport in the Mumbai region has become imperative."

The airport, expected to be ready in four years, is spread over 1,160 hectares – currently a mangrove area – with the aim of it being able to handle 60 million passengers a year by 2030. It will be built under a public-private partnership model, with Cidco holding 26 per cent of the equity, the rest the private developer.

Four bidders have been shortlisted for the building contract. Tata Realty with MIA Infrastructure, Hirandani with Zurich Airport, GMR Airports, and Mumbai International Airport.

“Navi Mumbai’s fairly balanced industrial growth will continue, and more and more of Mumbai’s population will eventually shift to the city and the other smart cities that will come up around the airport,” said Ramesh Nair, the chief operating officer, business and international director at JLL India.

“In short, the final clearance for Navi Mumbai’s long-awaited international airport heralds a massive boom for the region. With this airport, the satellite city’s infrastructure will get a major boost.”

The state government has already announced plans for a township, Naina (Navi Mumbai airport influence notified area), to be built near the new airport. Property sales around the would pick up as soon as construction work started on the project, with a rise in prices expected in the mid to long term, according to JLL.

“A toast of the Navi Mumbai’s developer community, the announcement of the Navi Mumbai International Airport in 2007 had been the basis for massive price rises in hitherto anonymous locations like Ulwe, Kamothe, Kharghar,” said Mr Nair.

“After the initial euphoria died down, controversies marred the start of this project and the year-on-year appreciation of prices also fell – especially in the last couple of years. Given the morass of land-acquisition issues, home buyers and investors were simply not sure when, and even if, the airport project would actually become a reality.”

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