Air passengers will contribute to Mumbai airport metro stations construction costs

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INDIA: Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) has approved the Rs. 518 crore funding for the two Mumbai Metro Line 3 stations at Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 to be collected via the levy of Development Fee (DF), also called the Passenger Facility Charge.

The decision to contribute to the overall metro project came after some objections from air transport bodies.

“IATA agrees in principle on the importance of providing good surface connectivity including rail connectivity for airports in India. However, for metro connectivity at CSIA, IATA does not believe that a non-dedicated rail line would significantly benefit air transport passengers using CSIA,” was the statement from the International Air Transport Association. “It would be unjustified to get air transport passengers to fund the construction of the Metro connectivity for CSIA through a DF when it is going to be utilized mainly by daily-commuting rail passengers.”

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“The proposed metro stations at CSIA would be three out of 33 stations on Mumbai Metro Line 3 and therefore it is not a dedicated line for airport users. The line is invariably going to be very heavily used by daily-commuting rail passengers and as such it would not be in a position to adequately accommodate air transport passengers who usually travel with substantial luggage and would have great difficulty getting on and off the train when it is packed to capacity.”

Other comments against the funding mentioned the inconvenient hours of metro operations for international passengers arriving early morning or late and night.

AERA, however, responded to all these comments saying that “Metro facility is an essential facility for passengers. It will be predominantly used by passengers for Santa Cruz and Sahar stations. In the long run it will serve as a faster and cheaper form of transport to airport. Road transport in Mumbai is already choked and will further deteriorate in future.”

The Authority further notes that though this metro line is not a dedicated airport line, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) will extend the services beyond midnight, and during this period between midnight and early morning, the Mumbai metro is going to serve air passengers almost exclusively. Furthermore, the Authority has considered that apart from airport passengers, the airport employees and workers also stand to benefit from the metro connectivity.

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The approved DF levy towards the Metro connectivity project will be Rs. 20 for each embarking domestic passenger and Rs. 120 for each embarking international passenger. The collection of levy will start on 1st April 2016 and the cut-off date is estimated on 31st March 2021.

Construction of the third station at Mumbai Airport (Sahar Road) will be financed by Mumbai International Airport Private Limited through real estate infrastructure deposit and is estimated to cost Rs. 59 crores.