PM opens Terminal 2 at Mumbai airport

PM opens Terminal 2 at Mumbai airport

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday inaugurated the state-of-the-art Terminal 2, or T2, at the reconstructed Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here, saying: “This terminal is expected to establish new global benchmarks of functional efficiency and operational safety. This terminal will fulfil the expectations we have from it and make us feel proud.”

He added, “We are working hard to make this airport a world-class facility. Our efforts have met with success. Ratings have improved considerably in recent years.”
The actual operations at the terminal are likely to commence from February.

Singh also mentioned that the UPA-led Government has finally resolved all pending issues with regard to the Navi Mumbai airport. According to him, the Maharashtra government, in collaboration with the Central government, is now moving ahead on the work for this airport.

Singh said that compared internationally, the propensity for air travel is currently very low in India. “Our figure for domestic air trips per person is only about 0.05 per year, compared to 1.8 for the US, 0.25 for Brazil and 0.15 for China. As such there is tremendous potential for growth of the civil aviation sector in the country.”

Recognising this, Singh continued: “Our government has introduced several policy and regulatory reform measures to encourage growth, private participation and investment in the sector. We are determined to ensure that the civil aviation sector grows rapidly despite challenges such as rising fuel costs and infrastructure bottlenecks.”

The decision to allow up to 49 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in domestic airlines, in addition to the FDI permissible in airport infrastructure, would help Indian carriers through equity infusion, he said, adding: “We have attempted to improve airport infrastructure through private participation in Greenfield airports and public-private partnerships in select airports currently being operated by the Airports Authority of India.”

Stating that the plan is to develop and operationalise 50 more airports across the country in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities Singh said: “The last 10 years have seen outstanding development of civil aviation infrastructure in the country.”

It may be recalled that the operation of T2 was to start from this month itself. The four-storey glass marvel, whose design has been inspired by a dancing peacock, has been built at a whopping cost of Rs 9,800 crore, as against initial projection of Rs 7,452 crore.

The terminal boasts of tens of thousands of artefacts and paintings, housing arguably one of the largest collections in the world at an airport.

Stretching along a 3-km art wall, the collection, in the form of a museum, houses over 7,000 artefacts collected from over 1,500 artists across the country.

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