L&T signs deal to build Mumbai’s second airport

The infrastructure arm of Indian conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has signed a contract to build the $2.3bn Navi Mumbai International Airport.

L&T agreed the deal with Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), a company formed by GVK, another Indian conglomerate, to oversee construction and operate the completed airport.

The choice of L&T for the EPC contract had been expected since June when it was nominated for the role by City and Industrial Development Corporation, the planning authority that owns 26% of MIAL. The formal agreement was signed on Saturday (31 August) by GVK chairman GVK Reddy and SN Subrahmanyan, L&T’s managing director.

Reddy commented at the signing: "With the commissioning of the iconic Terminal 2 at Mumbai airport and designing the under construction Garden Terminal 2 at Bengaluru airport, GVK had set new benchmarks in the Indian airports sector. Now, for the Navi Mumbai International Airport, we have to raise the bar over and above what we have achieved at Mumbai and Bengaluru."

Subrahmanyan added: "With its burgeoning demand, Mumbai was in dire need of a second airport and we have bagged the mandate to build it. GVK has entrusted L&T to develop some of their major infrastructures and L&T reciprocates their commitment to build a world-class airport and to transform GVK’s vision into reality."

For the first phase of the work, L&T will build a single runway and a passenger terminal designed by Zaha Hadid Architects with a capacity of 10 million. The airport will later increase its capacity to 20 million, and eventually 90 million.

The decision offers the hope of progress in what has become a troubled project.

The airport was proposed in 1997 to supplement Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. However, it was not until July 2008 that the government of Maharashtra State granted approval for a public-private partnership, and the Union Ministry of Environment did not give the go-ahead until 2017. Since then the estimated cost has ballooned fourfold, largely owing to greater than expected relocation and land costs.

The airport is now expected to begin operating some time in 2023. GVK will operate it on a 30-year concession.

Image: ZHA’s rendering of the passenger terminal (ZHA)

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