Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, 18 February, laid the foundation stone of the Navi Mumbai International Airport in a ceremony attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other minister from the Centre and the state. The PM reached Mumbai in the afternoon today where he was received at the airport by Fadnavis and Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao. Addressing the gathering PM Modi emphasised on the need for better connectivity for the growth of the country while adding that waterways will ensure that connectivity is also environment friendly. "Many governments came but the airport wasn't built," he said taking a dig at previous governments.
The PM said that his government began Pragati initiative to give priority to completion of projects. Reiterating his government's commitment that even those wearing "hawai chappal" should be able to do "hawai yatra", the PM said that order of over 900 new aircraft have been placed in the last one year alone. The PM praised the Fadnavis government of working relentlessly to turn Mumbai's infrastructure at par with world-class cities. Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari assured the Maharashtra government and the Union Civil Aviation Minister that the airport will be connected to other places in Mumbai through waterways. The Rs. 16,700 crore Navi Mumbai International Airport was planned in 1997 but remained a pipedream since due to a host of factors from clearances to political indecision. State-run Cidco and the GVK Group will undertake the construction of the airport, the first phase of which will be completed in four years.A trans-harbour link will be built to connect the airport at Navi Mumbai to the one at Mumbai. To be built in four phases, the airport will be able to handle up to 10 million passengers in 2019. After the completion of the second phase in 2022, the handling capacity will go up by 15 million passengers. The construction of the airport will be complete by 2031, when it will be able to handle 60 million passengers. The airport will have two parallel runways.As of now, the Mumbai airport handles over 900 flights per day - the highest in the country.