Aljazeera - Deborah Grey

When the first runway at Navi Mumbai International Airport becomes operational in late 2024, Mumbai’s second airport will be able to handle 20 million passengers a year.

Once completed in 2032, the airport will ultimately be able to cater to 90 million annual passengers.

The airport’s developer and the city’s government say the project is an essential piece of infrastructure to ease pressure on the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, which currently caters to nearly 50 million passengers per annum.

But some aviation experts and activists are concerned that the airport’s location poses a risk to air safety. They say the site’s proximity to two major bird sanctuaries and the feeding spots of several species of migratory birds leaves aircraft vulnerable to bird strikes.

So far, their pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

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