Mumbai airport's second terminal to open in December

Mumbai airport's second terminal to open in December
Passengers queueing at check-in counters in Mumbai airport. The airport was India's busiest until about three years ago.

MUMBAI - After several missed deadlines, Mumbai airport's second terminal is set to open in December.

Built at a cost of 125 billion rupees (S$2.5 billion), it will handle the growing air traffic in India's biggest city, which is also its commercial hub and film capital.

Till about three years ago, Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport was India's busiest before it was overtaken by Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport, which opened a third terminal.

With air traffic growing by about 14 per cent a year, long queues are common for clearing immigration in Mumbai. And that is after you get through the traffic snarl leading to the airport.

Construction of the new T2 began in 2009, three years after GVK-Airports Authority of India was awarded the contract to operate the airport.

The delay in construction was caused by slum dwellers - some 400,000 people in 85,000 houses crammed into 125ha - squatting on airport land.

Last year, local authorities admitted defeat after managing to relocate only 500 houses, and simply excluded 81ha of airport land from development.

"The new terminal is expected to be ready in two to three months," Mr Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said earlier this month.

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