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Govt set to speed up Navi Mumbai airport, bail out AI

Govt set to speed up Navi Mumbai airport, bail out AI
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First Published: Wed, Jul 23 2008. 11 56 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Jul 23 2008. 11 56 PM IST
New Delhi: The Union government will complete private bidding for the construction of a second airport in Mumbai by March, a senior civil aviation ministry functionary said on Wednesday, a day after the ruling United Progressive Alliance won a trust vote in Parliament. India’s financial capital hosts the country’s busiest airport by passengers.
The civil aviation ministry will also infuse capital into state-run carrier Air India (AI) to help it tide over mounting losses, said the functionary, who asked not to be named.
The present airport in Mumbai has limited scope for expansion, with about 272 acres at the 1,800-acre site and its vicinity already encroached by slums, the airport’s private developer Mumbai International Airport Ltd has said. The new airport in Navi Mumbai, 35km north of the city airport, is planned for completion by 2012.
A government committee formed to look into the financial troubles of domestic airlines, reeling under losses after aviation fuel prices tripled in three years, will meet in the first week of August and “hopefully” submit its recommendations by the end of the month, the functionary said.
Airlines are expected to post a combined loss of $2 billion (Rs8,460 crore) this fiscal year, double that of 2007-08.
A proposal by National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, which runs Air India, for an infusion of Rs2,300 crore in equity and debt “will be formalized over the next 15-20 days and sent for approval,” the same functionary said. The airline has been asked to cut costs to the tune of Rs1,000 crore a year by paring unprofitable routes.
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First Published: Wed, Jul 23 2008. 11 56 PM IST