Mumbai is about to go one-up on Delhi again. If Indira Gandhi International’s (IGI) T3 was the best and brightest state-of-the-art airport terminal, Mumbai’s T2, the new terminal set to open on Friday, is about to steal its crown.
The first vertical airport terminal in the country, T2 has an unusual four-storey X-shaped design.
"The New York-based architects Skimore, Owings and Merrill LLP — the firm behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world — decided to build a four-storey structure," said a senior ministry official requesting anonymity.
The creativity is the result of acute land shortage. With a massive 5,123 acres available to its makers, the IGI – the country’s busiest – has to accommodate just 6,777 passengers per acre. In comparison, with only 1,400 acres at its disposal, the Mumbai airport has to cater to 21,743 passengers per acre.
The roof of the T2 is expected to be the showstopper.
Spanning 11 acres, it is fitted with special dichroic lenses that move according to the changing location of the sun. Result – the colours thrown at the check-in hall through the lenses would resemble the colours of a peacock feather.
And there are other frills.
The distance from the boarding gates to the check-in hall is a mere 450 m. For arriving passengers, it is marginally longer – 600 m – but in any case, far shorter than IGI T3’s 750 m.
"The distance is arguably the shortest compared to the airports at any other metro. One of the common passengers’ grouse at Delhi’s T3 is the long transit distance," added the official with some glee.
The terminal would also offer ample cover outside the entrance for people dropping off their relatives or waiting to receive them.