Navi Mumbai airport to be ready by 2019: Fadnavis

Hurdles with land acquisition and environmental clearances have held up the project, the first phase of which was expected to be operational in 2011


A file photo of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Photo: PTI
A file photo of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Photo: PTI

Mumbai: Tenders by May. Construction by October. And if all goes well, the first flight in 2019. That’s Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s timeline to build an international airport in Navi Mumbai, a project that hasn’t made progress since the central government cleared it in 2007. Fadnavis made the announcement in the state assembly while replying to a debate on the demands of the urban development ministry in the state budget.

The nodal agency for the project is the state-owned City and Industrial Development Corp. of Maharashtra (Cidco), which comes under the urban development ministry headed by the chief minister himself.

Hurdles with land acquisition and environmental clearances have held up the project, the first phase of which was expected to be operational in 2011. In the last eight years, the estimated cost of the project has increased from around Rs.8,000 crore to Rs.14,500 crore.

Even after securing land and environmental clearances, Cidco, which invited requests for qualification from prospective bidders, had to extend the deadline several times since the lack of clarity about revenue sharing and bidding interests kept potential airport builders away. In December, civil aviation ministry approved the so-called hybrid till model.

In the single till model, all airport activities, aeronautical and retail, are taken into account to determine airport charges so airlines are charged less. In contrast, only aeronautical activities are considered under the dual till model, which private airport operators prefer since it will fetch them higher revenue. The hybrid model is a combination of these two.

Out of nine local and international consortiums that expressed interest, Cidco finally shortlisted four bidders in January—GMR Airports, Mumbai International Airport Ltd, Hiranandani Developers along with Zurich Airport Developers, and MIA Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd along with Tata Realty.

MIAL, a joint venture of GVK Group that is already running the Mumbai airport, has first right of refusal over the Navi Mumbai project. If another developer outbids MIAL and if the bid is within 10% of the MIAL’s bid, then the airport company can match the bid and build the Navi Mumbai airport.

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