India's Environment Ministry approved construction of the INR150 billion (USD3.3 billion) and much-delayed Navi Mumbai Airport (IANS/Live Mint/TNN/Times of India/Business Standard/Bloomberg/Hindustan Times/Hindu Business Line/Khaleej Times/AP/Wall Street Journal/Reuters/Dow Jones, 22-Nov-2010). Environment Minister Jairim Ramesh said "the environmental clearance for this project has been accorded", adding that the "provisions of building the airport can start today”. Details of the proposed airport and the approval are as follows:
- Conditions of approval: Mr Ramesh stated the project was approved after the government imposed 32 conditions partly to help preserve mangrove swamps. These included narrowing the distance between runways to avoid diverting a river. The distance between the two runways has been reduced to 1555m from the proposed 1800m;
- Capacity: The second Mumbai airport will have a capacity of 10 million passengers p/a when phase one is completed by 2014, according to Chief Minister of Maharashtra State, Prithviraj Chavan. It will subsequently be expanded to handle 40 million passengers by 2030 and 60 million in the future;
- Ownership Structure: A private partner will hold a 74% stake in the project, according to City and Industrial Development Corp of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO) MD Tanaji Satre, while CIDCO and Airports Authority of India will have a 26% stake in the venture. Minister for Aviation Praful Patel stated the government may take a year to select a private partner for the project. The government gave in-principle approval to Navi Mumbai Airport in Jul-2007;
- Size of land: The new airport is set to be developed on 1140ha of which more than 70% has been acquired. The area is located around 30km south-east of the present Mumbai International Airport. As part of the conditions imposed by the Environment Ministry, CIDCO will rehabilitate 3000 families of 10 settlements from seven villages according to the rehabilitation and resettlement policy;
- Infrastructure: Several major infrastructure projects are expected to be developed around the airport, including the construction of the trans-harbour freeway linking Sewri in Mumbai to Nhava-Sheva. Other plans include constructing metro routes, railway lines and additional freeways and expressways.