Despite Maharashtra’s chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis harping that the first phase of work on Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) will be completed by 2019, the civil aviation ministry thinks otherwise.

During the sixth US-India aviation summit,  civil aviation secretary, RN Choubey said that even though work on NMIA is progressing as scheduled, meeting the 2019 deadline would be tough.

The estimated cost for completion of NMIA’s fist phase is ₹16,700 crores. In March it began with the levelling of Ulwe hill, the site where the terminal will come up.

In 1997, acknowledging the urgency to take the load off Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), the state initiated dialogue for NMIA. Numeral delays later, the project is finally underway.

Traffic at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) has been on a steady rise since a while now, and currently it is functioning beyond its full capacity.

Earlier this year, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha said that in the next five years, Navi Mumbai International Airport would be able to take the load off CSIA that has a “bottle-necked single runway”.

The new airport will have two parallel runways with a capacity to handle 80 flight movements per hour.