The Department of Posts on has issued two postage stamps to commemorate the completion of 75 years of operations of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. H C Agrawal, chief postmaster general, Maharashtra Circle unveiled the stamps of Rs 5 and Rs 15 respectively at an event in Mumbai. This is the first time in the history of Indian aviation that a stamp on an airport was issued by the Department of Posts. The event was organised specifically to honour the memory of the Late JRD Tata, who on October 15, 1932, piloted the first flight of Tata Air Services from Karachi to Mumbai via Ahmedabad carrying airmail.
The erstwhile Royal Air Force commenced its operations in 1942 from Santacruz, a military airfield. Post independence, the airfield was transferred to the Indian government for civilian use and came to be known as Santacruz airport. The hangars of Royal Air Force Santacruz were converted into terminals for passenger traffic; one hangar was used as a domestic terminal and the other as an international terminal.
In 2006, under a public-private-partnership initiative, the operations of the airport were entrusted to the Mumbai International Airport (MIAL), a joint venture between the GVK led consortium and the Airports Authority of India (AAI). In addition to refurbishing the existing terminals and improving airside infrastructure, MIAL made significant improvements to the aesthetics and passenger convenience with the creation of the Terminal 2.
Commenting on the occasion, Dr GVK Reddy, executive chairman, MIAL said, “It is a matter of great pride and honour for us at GVK to have been involved in a part of the Mumbai Airport’s incredible journey of 75 years. We ventured into the aviation sector in 2006 when we were given the mandate to operate, manage and develop the Mumbai Airport, and set about our task of transforming the airport into a world-class facility. While facing innumerable challenges we have been able to accomplish our vision of creating an edifice worthy of being the pride of Mumbai and India.”
The airport was conceptualised as a structure that resounded with Indian culture and traditions. The terminal design draws inspiration from the national bird, the peacock, with the motif of the peacock feather incorporated into several aspects of the architecture. The terminal also houses ‘Jaya He’, the country’s largest public art programme, which brings together artwork from every corner of India for travellers to witness in one monumental installation.