Tendering on for Mumbai airport

Written by Shauvik Ghosh | New Delhi, Sep 29 | Updated: Sep 30 2008, 06:59am hrs
The much awaited Navi Mumbai airport is on track and the tendering process being carried out by various governmental Maharashtra state bodies and other stakeholders will be over by March 2009, minister of civil aviation, Praful Patel said on Monday. Construction of the airport should start immediately thereafter.

The state-owned City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) which is the prevailing authority behind the ambitious Greenfield airport project started the process of inviting bids sometime in early 2008.

Cidco has appointed a US-based firm as consultant to draw up the global bid document and a detailed project report. The capacity of the existing airport at Santa Cruz will be saturated in 4-5 years and it has no scope for expansion. Passenger traffic is growing at an average 25% annually and more than 37 million passengers are projected to use the current airport by 2010.

The Santa Cruz airport cannot afford a parallel runway either because of space constraints. All these factors make the development of the Navi Mumbai airport critical.

The Navi Mumbai Airport is necessary if Mumbai wants to keep pace with growth in aviation traffic. It is expected to absorb around 10 million passengers in its first operational year which is expected to be 2012. This is then expected to double to 20 million by 2020 and 40 million by 2030.

Like other Greenfield airports coming up across the country, the one at Navi Mumbai would also take the public-private partnership route so that CIDCO will ultimately hold only 26% equity in the project.

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel has said earlier that the proposed greenfield airport would come up by 2012 and have a capacity to handle nearly 55 million passengers, annually. The airport is to come up on over 2,750 acres of land at the Copra-Panvel area of Navi Mumbai, with 74% equity participation by the private sector. The Airports Authority of India (AAI), the government of Maharashtra and Cidco will hold the remainder.

The percentage of profits that it will take from the airport is yet unclear but is expected to be similar to the model followed by the Delhi and Mumbai airports.