The Moodie Blog in India: Mumbai modernisation set to deliver the spirit of India

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

It’s arguably the most complex modernisation in the history of the airport industry. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, the gateway to Mumbai, is currently developing a new integrated (domestic and international) terminal, one designed to handle 40 million passengers and due for completion by 2012. 

Because of quite extraordinary space constraints – much of the land (276 acres, in fact) encircling the airport is ‘encroached’ by shanty settlements – Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the GVK-led airport company, is having to manage the development in phases, as indicated by MIAL General Manager Corporate Communications Manish Kalghatgi below.

In the first phase, the Southwest pier is being linked into the existing Terminal 2 (currently undergoing a retail refurbishment). After that, the existing terminal will be demolished on a step-by-step basis to create the integrated terminal, one that is described as a “dramatic new gateway to Mumbai”. In short, MIAL is spending heavily on a makeover of a building it plans to demolish while creating a brand new one.

If that sounds complicated, it is. Effectively, due to the total lack of spare space, additional land or greenfield areas, MIAL is having to build from within its existing confines. Think of a snake shedding its skin and you get the broad idea.

And yet it’s happening. And fast. A vibrantly coloured snake, resplendent in its new skin, is emerging. The work that has been completed to date (one of the domestic terminals is pictured below) is smart, modern and efficiently functional.

The airport ultimately will have a strongly Indian theme. A high-end Indian wine store (the country’s best wines are very good indeed, I can testify after a week sampling them for purely professional purposes), is currently being developed, part of a whole Indian destination zone.

“We’ll be capturing all the culture of India,” says General Manager Retail Siddharth Sahgal (below). “We have 28 States in India (and seven union territories) and every 300-400 miles there is a cultural change. We want to capture that.”

That will be mirrored by other zones, for example one dedicated to high-end luxury and an ambitious food court (in the middle of terminals 2B and 2C) due to open by the end of next month.

We’ll bring you details of the terminal by terminal developments in next month’s special issue of The Moodie Report Digital Print Edition. It will offer a fascinating insight into an airport that will loom large on the business development radar of all the industry’s major concessionaires in the near future.

One of them, of course, will be the duty free incumbent in Mumbai, DFS Group. We’ll take a look at the retailer’s new store in a future Blog.

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