• Gajapathi Raju flies in face of CIDCO deadline, says Navi Mumbai airport to take 8-9 years

    It will take eight to nine years for the Navi Mumbai airport to be built, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told FE. The minister’s statement is in direct contrast to the ones made by the Maharashtra government body City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), tasked with the pre-development work for the airport, which has repeatedly said that the airport will become operational by the end of 2019.
    For the record, the pre-development work is yet to be completed and the bidder that will partner CIDCO in constructing and maintaining the airport is yet to be finalised.
    “The capacity constraint at the current Mumbai airport is a concern for all of us but constructing the new airport will take at least four years if the development work takes place efficiently. If we take into consideration the time taken to build a greenfield airport in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, it was more than eight to nine years. More so, this airport will be based on a marshy land unlike Bengaluru and Hyderabad, hence it will take more time,” Raju said in the course of an interview.
    Speaking about the development of airports in the country, the minister said that R15,000 crore will be spent by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) towards this task in the next few years.
    According to him, the financial condition of debt-ridden state carrier Air India is a matter of concern and the prevailing condition is a kind of ‘debt trap’; some kind of financial reconstruction is the need of the hour to bring down the interest cost. At present, Air India has a total debt of R50,000 crore and an annual interest outgo of almost R4,000 crore. Thomas Steen Authentic Jersey

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