The Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport squeezes in more passengers per acre than any other major airport in the world. According to figures released by the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) on Tuesday, about 34,000 passengers jostle for space in an acre at the international airport.
Comparatively, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, India’s busiest airport, caters to 8,980 passengers per acre. The passenger per acre (ppa) at other airports is significantly less than Mumbai. For instance, the ppa at the Bangalore International Airport is 4,528, while the ppa at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad, is 2,197. Besides, the ppa of Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, is 5,238, while that of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas, is 3,566.
The city’s international airport recently joined the league of big world airports that handle more than 40 million passengers a year. Earlier, IGI was the only Indian airport on the list.
With the airport now being promoted as a ‘catchment area’ for traffic from 28 Indian cities, the congestion at Mumbai airport is only likely to get worse. “Some international airlines have been sceptical about starting services to Mumbai owing to its space constraints. But it is so strategically placed that the city is too tempting to resist,” said an industry observer.
According to MIAL’s data, transit traffic is estimated to touch 4.4 million this year from 1.8 million in 2011.
With fliers’ volumes growing in Mumbai by 5.1 million between 2014 and 2015, the subsequent 12-month passengers per acre at the city airport saw a rapid rise. For instance, when T2, the airport’s newest integrated terminal, opened in 2014, the passenger-to-area ratio was 21,743 for an acre. This rose to 34,148 in a year. Crowding per acre at the Delhi airport, however, rose by only 2,203 passengers per acre during the same period.
A recent land study of the city airport revealed that of the total airport land spanning across 2,006.86 acres, 1,399.52 acres is used. The ‘unusable’ space comprises slums spanning across 308.96 acres, while 209.46 acres of land is on long-term lease and 46.41 acres of land is under litigation, among other challenges such as land owned by the ministry of defence and the Airports Authority of India.