Mumbai airport to be saturated by 2018, says report | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai airport to be saturated by 2018, says report

The report said the congestion at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport will lead to loss of thousands of jobs and economic loss for Mumbai and the region.

mumbai Updated: Sep 18, 2017 10:01 IST
HT Correspondent
According to the Sydney-based think tank’s report, the Mumbai airport will handle 48 million passengers – its maximum capacity – in 2018.
According to the Sydney-based think tank’s report, the Mumbai airport will handle 48 million passengers – its maximum capacity – in 2018. (Picture for representation)

The city airport will reach its saturation point next year, leaving it with no room to operate more flights than it currently does. A report by Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), a leading aviation think tank, said the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) has currently reached 94% of its passenger-handling capacity.

The country’s second-busiest airport, after Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, handles 45.2 million passengers every year and witnesses around 930 flight operations every day. According to the Sydney-based think tank’s report, the Mumbai airport will handle 48 million passengers – its maximum capacity – in 2018. The IGI airport, which has an annual capacity of 100 million passengers, is currently used by 58 million passengers and will reach saturation point in 2023.

The report said the congestion at CSIA will lead to loss of thousands of jobs and economic loss for Mumbai and the region.

Mumbai International Airport Private Limited, which manages the airport, did not comment on the report.

Aviation expert and former pilot Vipul Saxena, however, said, “This has been coming up time and again, as there are many stakeholders whose future depends on this issue. I agree with CAPA’s study. The passenger traffic at Mumbai airport is growing at almost 20% of the total air traffic growth, which is alarming.”

When it reaches its maximum capacity, the Mumbai airport would have added 48 more flights every day, but it won’t be able to increase operations after that. According to CAPA, the Navi Mumbai airport, which was expected to handle the overflow from Mumbai, can be thrown open to passengers only by 2024, at the earliest. The delay Mumbai getting a second airport, the report pointed out, and the severe congestion at Mumbai airport, will lead to the lowest aviation traffic growth among six metros in India.

“I hope under the proactive NDA government, the ministry has drawn up a plan which they must share with the public at the earliest so that there is no panic and land price hoarders don’t loot people. I expect Goa and Pune airports will have to share the burden of the Mumbai airport till the Navi Mumbai one doesn’t come up,” said Saxena.

The report termed the situation “completely avoidable”, and stated that 40 Indian airports are expected to be saturated in the next decade. It, however, added that airports in metro could be saturated quicker.

The report said that while all metro cities will require a second airport by 2030, Mumbai and Delhi might need a third one.

Some airlines are already preparing for what is to come. A few airlines have started using wide body aircraft – which have higher passenger capacity – for some domestic routes from Mumbai. This is done to have maximum passengers flying in the already available slots. “The airport has been actively discouraging operations by regional aircraft and has a curfew on general aviation movements during peak hours,” said the report.