New Delhi, Feb 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday will lay the foundation stone of ambitious Navi Mumbai airport. 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. Also Read - US to Ship First Batch of 100 Ventilators Donated to India Next Week: White House

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. Also Read - Coronavirus Updates: Compulsory 7-Day Home Quarantine For All Passengers Coming to Delhi By Flights, Trains, Buses

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. Also Read - On Call, PM Modi, Donald Trump Discuss Ladakh Standoff, Ongoing Protests in US, G-7 Summit

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 per cent 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 per cent 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.