In a step that would go a long a way in ensuring safe and efficient helicopter operations, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to introduce separate Visual Flight Route corridors at the Delhi and Mumbai airports.
“A large number of helicopters operate within the control zone of international airports in Mumbai and Delhi for oil exploration, tourism and corporate and business purposes,” a senior ministry official said.
“Helicopter operations get delayed due to air traffic congestion at these international airports,” the official said elaborating on the reasons behind the decision to introduce helicopters flying corridors.
The DGCA had asked the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to design the visual flight rules helicopter routings. Suggestions were also invited from all helicopter operators.
“A number of meetings were held at Mumbai and Delhi between helicopter operators, AAI and DGCA to discuss the routings. The suggestions were considered and the routes were odified to facilitate the operations and at the same time ensuring that air safety is not compromised at any stage,” the official said.
Flying trials, the official said, have been conducted separately at Mumbai and Delhi with the help of helicopter operators under supervision of DGCA.
A separate corridor was also recommended by the Kaw committee, which took into account the short endurance of helicopters, promotion of the industry and safety aspects, among other factors.
Mumbai’s Juhu aerodrome accounts for 75 per cent of helicopter traffic followed by Delhi and Pune. According to industry estimates, monthly air hours at Juhu (Mumbai) ranges from 1,900-2,000 hours, while it moves some 12,000-12,500 personnel every month.