Mumbai airport's T2 to get operational on Wednesday, to host 30k people on first day

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Feb 10 2014, 23:02pm hrs
Mumbai International AirportThe old terminal will be closed for operations from 2 pm onwards. PTI
More than 30,000 people 15,000 arriving passengers and 15,000 departing passengers from 200 flights will be hosted by Mumbai International Airport Limited or MIAL's brand new terminal 2 (T2) on Wednesday, as it commences operations for the very first time.

The transition of all international flights from the existing terminal to the new integrated T2 will be completed with the departure of Malaysian Airlines flight MH738 to Kuala Lumpur, which will be the last departure from the old terminal, at 12.25 pm.

Air India's flight from Singapore, AI343, will be the first arrival at 1 pm while Jet Airway's flight 9W118 to London Heathrow at 1.20 pm will be the first departure at the brand new terminal T2.

During the last few weeks since its inauguration, the terminal underwent a comprehensive security sweep as well as the final stages of ORAT (Operational Readiness Activation and Transition). As part of the ORAT process MIAL also undertook familiarization processes for airlines, ground handling staff, security, customs, immigration and MIAL employees; to help get them acquainted with the terminal building, new technologically advanced systems, facilities and processes for smooth and seamless transition of all stakeholders from old international terminal to the new integrated T2, said a MIAL release.

All international flights departing before 1pm on Wednesday will be from the old terminal and all departures after 1 pm will be from the new Terminal 2. Likewise, flights arriving before 12 noon will be at the old terminal and all arrivals after 12 noon will be at the new Terminal 2. The old terminal will be closed for operations from 2 pm onwards.

The T2 will be catering to only international flights from Wednesday. GVK, who built the new terminal, is looking to introduce domestic operations at T2 by early next year.

We hope to commence domestic operations at T2 by February next year, said Issac George, GVK's chief financial officer said at a recent analyst call.

Officials of Airport Authority of India (AAI) had however told FE that it will be the full service carriers which will be asked to shift to T2, once it starts it domestic operations, while the no-frills will remain in the old terminal at Santa Cruz.

The new terminal, T2, will also be the first Indian airport to be fitted with 52 two-tier aerobridges which is set to reduce time taken by passengers to travel from the aircraft to the baggage counters. The two-tier aerobridges will also arrival and departure of passengers simultaneously, thus saving further time for passengers, MIAL officials said. 27 such aerobridges will be operational on Wednesday.

The terminal will also feature baggage system with automatic sorting system which will further save time for passengers as the percentage of error in losing baggage is minimum in this case, added an MIAL official.

The aim is to reduce the delays in immigration and baggage reclaim, the official added. But, unlike most airports, passengers at T2 will have to go through security check before immigration.

All stakeholders of the airport, including 40 airlines, 3 ground handling companies and all government agencies, have been participating in a mock drill since the last few days to prepare for the grand opening of the new terminal.

We started the trial program in June 2013. and over 1700 people were involved in advanced trials that we carried out in the last few days. Over 6000 volunteers have taken part in the trial program which included us carrying out emergency trial runs that are to be carried out during medical emergencies and other emergency scenario, said the MIAL official, The 14,500 odd staff at the airport have also got themselves familiarized with its functioning and are now anticipating the opening day.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan will on Tuesday inaugurate the Sahar elevated road, a new flyover, that the citys development authority has built to bring passengers in and out of the new terminal.