Mumbai’s International Airport unveils its sumptuous new terminal


Mumbai has been making world headlines following the recent inauguration of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport’s new Terminal 2 by India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. The impressive new $2bn facility’s first international flight is scheduled for 12 February 2014, with domestic operations expected to commence next year. Once fully operational, Terminal 2 will handle up to 40 million passengers a year.

Owner-operator, GVK Power and Infrastructure’s Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL) hopes the opulently designed Terminal 2 will rival other international terminals of note, including Heathrow’s Terminal 5. The new facility accommodates 50,000 sqm of check-in halls, 188 check-in counters and 52 boarding gates with 10,900 seats.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) was lead architect, structural engineer and MEP engineer on the project, with construction services provided by local contractor, Larson and Toubro. SOM’s greatest challenge has been that of restricted ground space, as Mumbai’s infamous slums tightly surround the site. The answer was to build vertically in an ‘X’ formation, with the resulting 410,000 sqm building being set over four levels and combining international and domestic functions.

One of Terminal 2’s most innovative design features is that of the long-span roof, which covers a total of 70,000 sqm – one of the largest roofs in the world without an expansion joint. Just 30 internal columns – whose design was inspired by India’s national bird, the peacock – support the roof. Another defining feature is the cable wall exterior cladding system. At over 1 km in length and 11,000 sqm in area, it is now the longest and largest of its type in the world.

Great importance has been accorded to Terminal 2’s striking aesthetics. The hall is lit by 1,000 lotus-shaped imported chandeliers (the lotus being India’s national flower), with 30,000 sqm of skylight – enough to cover Wimbledon’s Centre Court six times over – providing plenty of natural light as well. A green-roof area features lush landscaping, with some 80 different plant species. Inside, nearly 7,000 cultural artefacts are displayed along 7,432 sqm of art walls.

Gail Taylor