Mumbai Airport (MIAL) may soon get a third terminal on the outskirts of its city in Kalyan. The existing terminals are in Santacruz for domestic flights and in Sahar for all international and a few domestic flights.

The state government is looking into the probable use of an abandoned airstrip on 1,8083 acres of land in Kalyan for the new terminal.

Mumbai’s Sahar and Santacruz airports are operating on full capacity with a total of 830 plus movements a day. Further, annual passenger growth at Mumbai Airport has been computed at 11 per cent to 12 percent — it currently handles 40 million passengers.

With the central government’s plan to increase regional air connectivity within India by resurrecting/building 50 airports in tier-II and tier-III cities, the passenger load will increase phenomenally in Mumbai’s domestic terminal. The biggest challenge will be the management of flight movements.

“We expect a significant increase in Mumbai’s air traffic after airports are built at small towns under the regional airport connectivity plan. As the Navi Mumbai Airport is not expected to be ready soon, we need a new airport. Domestic flight operations can be held at Kalyan (30kms from Navi Mumbai),” says Swadheen Kshatriya, chief secretary of the state. 

The state started planning the Navi Mumbai airport in 2007. It got its final approval, to start work, from the government last month. Last-minute acceptance of a fourth player, a consortium of Voluptas Developers (Hiranandani Group) is likely to delay the bidding process further, which was to close on September 1. GVK-led MIAL, GMR Group, and Tata Realty & Infrastructure are the other three bidders.

The basic pre-development work such as ground levelling and clearance has also been pushed to October as work couldn’t be carried out due to the rains. The Navi Mumbai airport is expected to be operational from 2020. Fate of Kalyan’s terminal, once the Navi Mumbai airport will become operational, is unclear as the government is yet to release more information on its development and use.

The Kalyan airstrip was built during World War II and falls under the dominion of the defence ministry. Airports Authority of India will negotiate its use for commercial aircraft if the land evaluations give a positive feedback.