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Flying start to Terminal 2

It's a sleek new look for Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport as its Terminal 2 is inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Barely an hour after the prime minister inaugurated the new terminal (T2) at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, the green signal for the satellite city’s much discussed airport was announced. In the inauguration ceremony the prime minister declared that all the pending issues about the Navi Mumbai airport have been resolved and the city will soon see the airport as planned.

Terminal 2 of the international airport is a glowing new destination in itself. Pic/AFP
Terminal 2 of the international airport is a glowing new destination in itself. Pic/AFP

The inauguration ceremony of the new terminal began practically on schedule when the prime minister arrived at the venue around 5.10pm, and ended with his speech at 6pm followed by a vote of thanks. The event was attended by VVIPs including Governor K Sankaranarayanan, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel and MoS for Civil Aviation KC Venugopal.

It’s a cheery sight at T2’s departure lounge
It’s a cheery sight at T2’s departure lounge

The new terminal that has been built on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model has made it the fifth successful airport made by using PPP. “This is the first time that an airport has a museum,” said the chief minister. The aviation minister said the airport would have the third largest growth of air traffic by 2020. The new terminal will be operational on February 12 as all the pending work has been completed. The three authorities, the CISF, AIU and Immigration, will be shifting to the new terminal by the end of January.

The mega roof is one of the stylish attractions of the terminal. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
The mega roof is one of the stylish attractions of the terminal. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The Prime Minister announced that the country will see 50 more airports that will come up in the Tier 2 and Tier cities. With the new terminal coming up air cargo shipments would grow to about 2million tonnes by 2026. “The new terminal will be a landmark to the city along with Gateway of India,” said GVK Reddy, chairman and managing director of GVK. The terminal has a capacity of handling 40-45 million passengers, more than the population of Canada.

Designer touches give the terminal a distinctive look and feel
Designer touches give the terminal a distinctive look and feel

From ramp to runway
Ace designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla collaborated with architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to add a creative edge to the state-of-the-art Terminal 2 of the Mumbai airport

While much has been said about the aesthetics and the grand scale of the 1,400 acre Terminal 2 or T2 of the Mumbai airport, not many know that city-based fashion designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla (pictured) also played a role in its creative design. Three years back, the designers came on board in collaboration with architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to add cutting-edge and design-inspired functionality to the new international terminal.

Travellers have a lot to look at as they arrive and check in. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Travellers have a lot to look at as they arrive and check in. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

“We are extremely proud to be part of this national project. It’s one of the best airports I’ve seen and it was a dream come true when we were told to work on this project,” says Khosla. The designers who are known for their intrinsic and unabashed Indian approach towards fashion and design were given a fuzz-free brief before they began work. “We were told that people should feel that they have landed in India, even before stepping out, and they should be able to experience the astonishing depth and diversity of our land at the airport itself,” shares Khosla.

The peacock design theme accompanies the travellator in the arrivals corridor
The peacock design theme accompanies the travellator in the arrivals corridor

Sticking to their instincts and the brief given to them, the designers created interiors that were firmly rooted in Indian-ness, working closely with the team at SOM, who provided ingenious solutions that allowed them to translate their vision into a physical, 3D reality. Heavy use of Indian textiles such as chikankari and phulkari work will be visible across various sections of the airport including the baggage claim and immigration areas.

T2 affords travellers a lot of breathing room. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
T2 affords travellers a lot of breathing room. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Some elements designed by the duo that are a must-see are the lotus chandeliers inspired by a lotus diya, a signature wall, created from a wavy metal sheet, to mirror the fluidity of a curtain and embedded with tiny lights behind it making it a feature diya wall and the peacock feather-inspired columns, which are the main feature of the airport.

The design elements add an attractive aspect to the terminal’s working atmosphere. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
The design elements add an attractive aspect to the terminal’s working atmosphere. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

“We wanted to use Indian textile imagery and blend it in a contemporary form that idea worked brilliantly. Usually, being at an airport is a very clinical process, but T2, with its exhaustive usage of art and design, will become a talking point,” believes Khosla, sharing with us to look out for the immigration area where the word ‘welcome’ has been highlighted in 68 languages.

 

- Ruchika Kher

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