PHOTO: An artist's rendering of Mumbai International Airport's Terminal 2. (courtesy Wiki Images)
To quote the vernacular, Mumbai International Airport's new T2 Terminal is sick.
(That's a good thing, by the way. Ask the kids.)
The gorgeous new facility begins service on Wednesday. The first flight to arrive will be an Air India flight from Singapoe to Mumbai; the first departure will be on Jet Airways from Mumbai to London-Heathrow.
The official dedication and inauguration was held last month, with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh doing the honors.
"I believe today marks a very important occasion in the development of the civil aviation sector in our country," Singh said last month. "This shows our ability to build world-class infrastructure. The T2 is truly a first-class terminal."
As airports struggle with aging facilities and infrastructure issues, the new terminal was built in compact fashion with 4.4 million square feet spread over four floors, each with a specific designation - international departures, domestic departures, arrivals, and baggage/ground transportation.
T2 was built to handle 40 million passengers a year. There are more than 180 check-in counters, 52 boarding bridges, and 162 escalators and moving walkways.
It was designed by the American firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. The firm was taken on a 15-day tour of the country by airport director Sanjay Reddy to glean inspiration for the new terminal.
What they came up with is dazzling.
Inspired by India's national bird, the peacock, the terminal has hundreds and hundreds of skylights attached to steel bases meant to mimic the birds.
A nearly two-mile 'Art Wall' dominates the terminal, as the skylights illuminate more than 5,000 pieces of art and artifacts from all over India.
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