Why this Mumbai airport keeps getting renamed

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, India. Source: Shutterstock.

WHAT is in a name?

For this Mumbai airport, many changes and many syllables.

Located in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), a densely populated city on India’s west coast, the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the primary international airport serving the Mumbai Metropolitan Area.

Or rather, was.

Because it is no longer known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

This is because the country’s Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu confirmed the airport has been bestowed a new name – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.

A fleet of Air India aircraft at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, India. Source: Shutterstock.

The name change comes after a long-pending demand of the state first made in 2016 by BJP MP Sambhaji Raje Chhtrapati, the 13th descendant of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Sambhaji had argued that the Maratha warrior king deserved more respect.

“Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is now Chhatrapati Shivaji ‘Maharaj’ International Airport. Congratulations to the people of Maharashtra, the long pending demand is now fulfilled. I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji for the concern towards the sentiments of the people of Maharashtra,” Prabhu tweeted.

But a name change is nothing new to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.

The interior of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, India. Source: Shutterstock.

First constructed in the 1930s, it was known as RAF Santacruz, home to several RAF squadrons during World War II from 1942 to 1947.

After India achieved independence from the British rule, it became known as Bombay International Airport, which gave it its International Air Transport Association (IATA) airport code – “BOM”.

With the dawning of the jumbo jets in the 1970s, despite several extensions, the airport began suffering from insufficient operational capacity. As such, international operations were moved to the newly-built terminal, referred to as Sahar International Airport.

Then came 2006, when the airport was privatized and the two terminals were collectively referred to as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Mumbai.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport is the second busiest airport in the country in terms of total and international passenger traffic after Delhi.

It was also the 14th busiest airport in Asia and 29th busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic in 2017 handling over 47.2 million passengers.

Thus, an official name change would roll out a host of other required changes including the airport’s website address (https://csia.in), social media handles, announcements and signages inside and around the airport, and even signages on city roads that lead to the airport.