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Still room for growth without disrupting flight operations

india Updated: Jan 15, 2014 13:33 IST
Soubhik Mitra
T2 mumbai airport

T2, the state-of-theart terminal inaugurated at the Mumbai airport on Friday, could be made bigger to accommodate more passeng ers, according to its architects.
Built to accommodate more than 40 million passengers annually, the four-storey structure, which is held by massive pillars, is expandable. “The pillars could be extended without any disruption to flight operations.

It is possible,” said Roger Duffy, design partner at the architecture firm that designed T2, as well as worldfamous structures such as the Burj Khalifa, Dubai, and the Wills Tower in Chicago (both tallest buildings at the time of completion).

Although an airport’s passenger capacity is primarily increased by adding runways and taxiways, the planners feel that T2 has the room to accommodate additional passenger traffic. The existing vertical structure — the first phase of the X-shaped terminal has already added 4.5 lakh sq metres of new space by replacing the old international terminal.

Currently, the airport handles close to 32 million passengers annually, very close to its saturation point. Worse, the Navi Mumbai airport has not even floated tenders, which indicates that it is unlikely to operational for at least another five to six years.

The SOM team that arrived in the city on Wednesday for the inauguration also admitted that T2 was one of their “most challenging assignments”. “Sanjay [Sanjay Reddy, managing direct or, Mumbai Inter national Airport Limited (MIAL)] was sure he did not want T2 to look like any other airport terminal. His brief was that it should unmistakably convey something about the place,” added Duffy.

Before the team hit the drawing boards, Reddy and his wife Pinky took SOM’s core team of engineers and designers for a 15-day tour of the country. Fashion designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, who also worked on T2, acquainted the team with Indian culture and helped them interpret it. “The homework was meticulous. Large troupes of choreographers were arranged for us to understand the meaning of different dancing postures,” Duffy added.