With the Mumbai airport reaching its saturation point, all eyes are set on the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA). The second airport in the city has the potential to boost development in the surrounding areas, giving an impetus to creation of new smart cities, commercial and industrial zones in the Navi Mumbai-Thane-Raigad region.
The state government has come up with the Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA) project to ensure planned development of the area close to the proposed airport. Under the project, Cidco aims to build 30 smart cities on the 562 sqkm land around the upcoming airport.
While the Union shipping ministry will develop a port-based special economic zone (SEZ) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), the state government is mulling converting the trans-Thane creek industrial corridor along the Thane-Belapur road into a special zone for financial services and service sector.
New commercial growth centres have been proposed at Panvel, Kalyan, Alibaug-Pen, Bhiwandi and Vasai-Virar. These growth centres will be connected to the airport through the state’s ambitious Virar- Alibaug multimodal corridor. Connectivity between the airport, JNPT, SEZs and the growth centres will help woo global investors, say officials.
According to Cidco’s joint managing director V Radha, strong transport system holds the key to speedy development. “If we connect all important areas to the airport, the development will be faster. The airport will make commercial activities in the area feasible,” Radha said.
The state government also plans to connect the Mumbai and the Navi Mumbai airport through the metro corridor, which will further be linked to the upcoming international finance service centre (IFSC) at the Bandra-Kurla Complex.
Cidco officials estimate the number of passengers at the airport to be around two to three million in the initial years of operation. “Many existing users of the Mumbai airport will shift to the NMIA. However, in the first phase, the number of dedicated passengers will be around two to three million fliers from areas such as Navi Mumbai, Pune and Nashik,” Radha said.
Samantak Das, chief economist of Knight Frank Real Estate, said, “Any development in the airport case leads to traction in real estate and development activities. The airport will lead to a huge growth in real estate and commercial activities in the surrounding areas, especially when transport projects such as MTHL are made operational.”