State-run City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) and the GVK Group broke ground on Navi Mumbai International Airport in the state of Maharashtra in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the programme, during which he also dedicated the fourth container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).
Cidco and the GVK Group are developing the Navi Mumbai International Airport at a cost of about INR167bn ($2.58bn).
It was initially planned in 1997 as a secondary airport to meet the growing needs of Mumbai, at an investment of INR30bn ($462.6m).
The Navi Mumbai airport will have two parallel runways, unlike the neighbouring Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, which has a single runway. The new airport will have two entrances and exits.
Measuring 4,000m, the parallel runways will each have two rapid exit taxiways.
The southern end of the runway will be constructed first, as it lies at the base of Ulwe Hills. Work on this is expected to begin by December 2018.
The new international airport will handle nearly 80 flights an hour and it is expected to ease the load of the congested Mumbai airport, which handles more than 900 flights a day.
The first flight is expected to take off in 2019.
GVK Group will hold 74% stake in the project, whereas Cidco and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will hold the remaining stake.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said top quality infrastructure is needed to keep pace with globalisation.
He said that the Navi Mumbai airport project has been pending for years and the PRAGATI initiative has been launched to give priority to completion of projects.
According to the Prime Minister, a strong aviation sector provides more economic opportunities and better connectivity leads to more tourists coming to India.
The Prime Minister also said that the Sagarmala project-Indian government’s 8 trillion mega infrastructure project, is ushering not only development of ports but also port-led development.