ibnlive » India

Jul 02, 2010 at 10:23pm IST

Patel rings alarm bell for Mumbai airport

New Delhi: A day ahead of unveiling world's fifth largest airport in the Capital, Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said the overcapacity at the Mumbai airport is a cause of concern. He added that Delhi has managed to take over Mumbai as being the busiest airport in India.

Praful Patel: In Mumbai, the problem is that there is only a limitation in capacity. This airport is right now made for 35 million passengers that can grow to 100 million. Mumbai will be frozen at 40 million no matter what. In fact, it has come to a stage where very soon we will have to announce that there are no flights in and out of Mumbai at all. And that would not affect Mumbai alone, that would affect the economy of the entire country also.

CNN-IBN: How long are we looking at?

Praful Patel: I can't say because most hours of the 24 hours - flight delays are taking place. There is very little I can do. In fact, in 2005 we took a call for an airport in Navi Mumbai. The government of India had to approve the airport. But all I can say is, it is stuck in the Environment ministry.

CNN-IBN: Are you going to stop allotting flights to the Mumbai airport?

Praful Patel: In fact, comprehensive review is going on. Most hours we have attained peak capacity. Mumbai used to be the busiest airport of our country until two years ago. Delhi has already overtaken it. With this kind of facility and growth, possibly you are going to see major hub for the whole country.

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