Air India, which aims to make the city its second hub after Delhi, today commenced its domestic operations from the international terminal (T2) of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) here.
The first domestic flight out of the swanky terminal took off for Nagpur at around 6 AM.
The relocation is part of the phase-wise transition plan of the airport operator — Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) — under which all the domestic carriers would be shifted to the international terminal from the domestic airport at suburban Santacruz.
Till now, Tata-SIA airline “Vistara” was the only domestic carrier operating out of T-2 while Air India was carrying out its operation from Terminal 1A.
“Today is an important day for us. We have moved our entire operations under one roof, which is a much more efficient way of handling transfers and provide the best experience to our passengers. We will look to make Mumbai a second hub for Air India,” Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani said, after inaugurating the domestic operations from the new terminal.
Air India passengers will now have the advantage of a smooth and seamless transition with easy connectivity, between domestic and international sectors, all from the same terminal, the airline said in a statement.
Air India operates 63 flights out of Mumbai, including 52 for domestic destinations, with on an average 90 flights arriving and departing from the city.
Global airlines grouping Star Alliance chief executive Mark Schwab, who was also present on the occasion, said “With the commencement of domestic operations here at Terminal 2, Air India has taken the next step in the evolution of its Star Alliance membership.”
At present Star Alliance has 11 member carriers connecting Mumbai with 20 international destinations in 14 countries, he said.
“Our customers can now enjoy a simpler, smoother and faster transfer experience, when they connect to and from any of Air India’s 30 domestic destinations served from Mumbai,” he added.
At CSIA, while international flights take off and land at T-2 which is at Sahar in suburban Andheri, the two domestic terminals – 1A and 1B – are situated at Santacruz.
All private domestic carriers — Jet Airways, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo — operate out of the Terminal-B of the domestic airport.
Inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January 2014, T-2 is a world-class integrated terminal designed to cater to 40 million passengers per annum.
The four-storey glass marvel, whose design has been inspired by a dancing peacock, came up at a whopping investment of Rs 9,800 crore.
Mumbai airport is run by a joint venture company, (MIAL), in which GVK-led consortium holds 74 per cent while the rest 26 per cent is held by the state-owned Airports Authority of India.