New Delhi, Feb 18: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone of ambitious Navi Mumbai international airport. Modi will also be inaugurating the Magnetic Maharashtra investors summit and Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

In a tweet, PM Modi said that he will be participating in the groundbreaking ceremony which will be realising decades-old dreams of residents of Navi Mumbai. Navi Mumbai International Airport, being built by the state-run Cidco and the GVK Group, is all set to take off at a humongous cost of over Rs 16,700 crore.

Planned in 1997 as a secondary airport to meet the growing needs of Mumbai at an investment of Rs 3,000 crore, the project was inordinately delayed due to a myriad of factors, including political indecision, issues of environmental clearances and the funding.

Unlike the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport of Mumbai which is a single-runway affair, the new airport in neighbouring Navi Mumbai will have two parallel runways and will handle close to 80 flights an hour.

It is expected to significantly ease the load of the congested Mumbai airport, which handles over 900 flights a day (the peak was 980 flights in mid-January), and is known as the world’s busiest single-runway facility, accounting for almost over 25 percent of the entire air traffic in the country.

The City Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), which is developing the new airport along with GVK Group, expects the first flight to take off in 2019. GVK Group will hold 74 percent stake in the project, the rest being held by the Cidco and the Airports Authority of India.

The parallel runways will measure 4,000 metres, each with two rapid exit taxiways. The new airport will have two entrances and exits. The southern tip of the runway will be built first as it lies at the base of Ulwe Hills, expected to be cut by December.