Jan. 02--The T2 terminal will initially be opened only for international operations, but over the next few months, the domestic operations will also be shifted here.
Flying into and out of Mumbai will be a cinch for international travellers in the New Year, with the new T2 terminal expected to become operational later this month.
One of the biggest bottlenecks at Mumbai's international airport is immigration, with passengers having to wait up to an hour during the peak time to clear the counters, both while arriving and departing from the airport.
But the new T2 terminal, to be inaugurated in the next few days by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will hopefully see a sharp reduction in waiting time.
While the existing international airport at Sahar has just 80 immigration counters, the new T2 terminal will have 140.
While the number of immigration officials has not increased, there will be less of crowding in the section.
Mumbai airport is one of the busiest in India, handling 30 million passengers. The new T2 terminal will boost its capacity to 40 million passengers annually. The airport is being managed by Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), a joint venture between the GVK group, a South African partner and government-owned Airport Authority of India.
Work on the new T2 terminal began about five years ago, but as with most infrastructure projects in Mumbai, got delayed because of various factors. The new terminal has been built at a cost of Rs123.8 billion (about Dh7.35 billion). The T2 terminal will initially be opened only for international operations, but over the next few months, the domestic operations will also be shifted here.
The state-of-the-art T2 is an integrated four-level terminal spread over 439,000 sq metres and features new taxiways, apron areas, landscaped gardens, waterfalls, high ceilings and open spaces. It also has a multi-level parking facility to accommodate more than 5,200 cars.
Once T2 is fully operational, domestic operations too will be shifted here. For several decades now, Mumbai has had two terminals -- one at Santa Cruz for domestic operations and the other at Sahar for international ones. But from next year, even domestic passengers will have to use T2 at Sahar.
The existing international terminal will be demolished once the new one becomes operational. A network of new roads, including a 3.3-km-long elevated corridor, linking the new terminal to the western and eastern suburbs are also getting ready.
The elevated corridor, which will link T2 to the Western Express highway, is expected to be ready by the time the terminal is inaugurated.
This will cut travel time from the highway to the airport, from the existing 30 to 45 minutes, to less than 15 minutes. Similarly, new roads linking the terminal to the eastern suburbs are also getting ready, cutting down travel time to places like Ghatkopar and Kurla drastically.
Copyright 2014 - Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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