The new year has begun on a positive note for Mumbaikars with the inauguration of Terminal 2 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) on January 10. Apart from coming as a welcome relief for passengers travelling through the extremely congested airport, the terminal comes with a formidable list of specs. The ₹5,500 crore that went into T2’s construction by a GVK-led consortium is reflected in the 188 check-in counters, 161 elevators, escalators and travelators and over 100 toilets. This upgrade will allow CSIA, which handles 19% of India’s air passenger traffic, to push its capacity to about 40 million passengers a year.
But GVK’s achievements do not come without a fair share of drawbacks.The two biggest issues have been the resettlement of slums surrounding — and encroaching on — airport land and the placement of a statue of the eponymous Maratha warrior king, Shivaji. And though the contracts for both Delhi’s T3 and Mumbai’s T2 were awarded simultaneously in 2006, a GMR-led consortium finished T3 in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2010, albeit after going substantially overbudget. Not that T2 stayed in budget — its construction, too, saw a 32% cost escalation. To buttress rising costs, the consortium had even applied for a hike in airport development fees from the prevailing ₹100 for domestic and ₹600 for international passengers, but the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority turned down its request in 2012. It looks like the Mumbai-Delhi war continues with T2.