Mumbai airport's new domestic terminal 1B opens

Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) officially opened its new Terminal 1B at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) on Monday 17 September. The chief guest was union minister for civil aviation Praful Patel.

The airlines that will operate from the new terminal include Air Deccan, Go Air, Indigo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and JetLite. The new arrival terminal will now handle 65 per cent of the domestic arrivals, which will shift from terminal 1A to 1B.

Saying it was "the best airport terminal in India today", MIAl chairman GV Krishna Reddy said it was a small step in the company's journey to transform CSIA. MIAL announced plans to invest a further $1.5 billion (Rs6,000 crore) in its airport modernisation programme.

Patel said that he aims for the first phase of the new greenfield airport that is to come up at Navi Mumbai to be ready by 2012. It will have the capacity to handle 55 million passengers each year.

Speaking about the proposed expansion plans of the present Mumbai airport, Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said rehabilitation of the displaced people would be done "with a humanitarian face".

Reddy said the new terminal was constructed at a cost of over Rs130 crore ($32 million). MIAL has spent over Rs600 crore ($148 million) since May 2006 to upgrade the airport. It plans to install 11 new aerobridges at the CSIA by next year. Tenders have already been floated for this, Reddy said.

Once the modernisation is complete, CSIA will be the 40th busiest and largest airport in the world, handling 40 million passengers, up from its present capacity of 22 million passengers.

The other facilities at the terminal include five baggage belts, premium taxi services, an exclusive taxi service for women, an international transit facility and a 10,400-sq- metre (1.12 lakh sq ft) arrival plaza.