January 10, 2014
Mumbai (Maharashtra)

PM's speech at the inauguration of New Integrated Terminal (T2) at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Mumbai

“I believe today marks a very important special occasion in the development of the civil aviation sector in our country. I am delighted to be a part of this function to inaugurate the state-of-the-art Terminal-2 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).

This terminal is expected to establish new global bench-marks of functional efficiency and operational safety for airports. It also exemplifies our ability as a nation to build world-class infrastructure. I have no doubt that this terminal will fulfill the expectations we have from it and make us all feel very proud.

I compliment Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) for building this state-of-the art facility. The entrepreneurial skills of Shri GVK Reddy and his colleagues are truly first-class. I am aware that they have overcome serious challenges that arise in expansion and up-gradation of Brownfield airports, especially in a land constrained city like Mumbai. It is even more creditable that they have ensured that the ongoing airport operations were not affected even while this project was being implemented.

I also compliment my Cabinet colleague Shri Ajit Singh and his team in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, including Minister of State Shri K.C.Venugopal, for their commitment to the overall development of the civil aviation sector in India, and in particular for ensuring effective implementation of the Terminal-2 project.

We have been working hard to make the Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport a world class facility. I am happy that our efforts have met with success as the airport`s Passenger Convenience Ratings, given by Airports Council International, have improved considerably in recent years. Its Airport Service Quality (ASQ) rating has gone up from 3.53 in 2007 to 4.64 in 2012. It is now the 3rd Best Global Airport in the 25 to 40 million Passenger Capacity category. I am sure that with the commissioning of its Terminal-2, this airport will improve even further and will be counted among the very best in the world. That should be our ambition and it can be done.

This is a reasonable expectation given that the new terminal has the latest design features and particularly meets international standards in addressing critical environmental concerns like those of energy and water efficiency and indoor air quality. It is passenger friendly and the conveniences of all categories of passengers, including people with reduced mobility, have been an important consideration in its design. Particular emphasis has been given to build strong airside capabilities, resulting in significant improvement in hourly runway movements. With the commissioning of Terminal-2, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport has become code F compliant and is now ready to handle A-380 type aircraft operations.

As we all know, India`s infrastructure needs are enormous. The infrastructure deficit in the country is considered as a serious constraint limiting our rate of economic growth. And, therefore, we need to work doubly hard to bridge this deficit. The Government alone cannot make the very large investment required to build world-class infrastructure in the country, and, therefore, we have been encouraging partnerships with the private sector.

The construction of the new terminal is yet another shining example of successful execution of large infrastructure projects under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model which our Government has encouraged in recent years. I am very happy that the PPP model has worked particularly well in the civil aviation sector, with 5 PPP airports now handling about 57% of the passenger traffic and about 70% of the cargo in our country. The success of Terminal-2 should give a boost to other PPP projects in the country, which are under implementation or are at the planning stage.

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 in the USA, 0.25 in Brazil and 0.15 in China. There is, therefore, tremendous potential for growth of the civil aviation sector in our country.

Recognizing this, our Government has introduced several policy and regulatory reform measures to encourage growth, private participation and investment in the civil aviation 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% FDI by foreign carriers in domestic airlines, in addition to the FDI permissible in airport infrastructure, will help Indian carriers through equity infusion. We have attempted to improve airport infrastructure through private participation in Greenfield airports and Public Private Partnership in select airports currently being operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). We plan to develop and operationalize 50 more airports across the country, in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. I must say that the last ten years have seen outstanding development of civil aviation infrastructure in our country.

The importance of this airport for Mumbai cannot be overemphasized. Mumbai is the financial capital of our country. It is a major source of enterprise and creativity which drive our economic growth. It is the capital of our film industry which has global scale and global reach. This city truly deserves world class facilities like the new T-2 Terminal.

I would also like to mention here that we have finally resolved all pending issues with regard to the Navi Mumbai Airport. The Government of Maharashtra, in collaboration with the Central Government, is now moving ahead on the work for this new airport.

Let me conclude by once again congratulating all those who have contributed to building this very impressive project. I am sure in the time to come we will see several such projects in our country. I wish to congratulate Shri GVK Reddy and his associates for having done a job outstandingly well.

With these words, I have great pleasure in dedicating the New Integrated Terminal- 2 to the nation.

Thank you. Jai Hind."