The Mumbai airport’s muddle with kites, balloons and laser beams straying into flight paths seems far from getting over. Despite several discussions to curb the menace, a few some flights have reported fresh cases of safety scares. With Makar Sankranti about 10 days away, airport officials have again asked the Mumbai police to keep an eye on kite fliers near the airport premises.
“We have raised the matter time and again with the police. But it is not easy to keep a tab on such miscreants,” said an airport official, adding that people should be more responsible and that a reminder would be sent to police ahead of the festival.
On November 4, an aircraft with registration number VT-AJM reported laser light being flashed on it’s arrival path. The same night, a Jet Airways flight crew lodged an identical complaint. While laser beams could disturb a pilot’s view of the airstrip, kites and balloons straying on the runway could get sucked into aircraft engine and lead a safety scare, said air safety experts.
The civil aviation ministry had urged the state government to ban kites flying near airports, the HT had reported last September. On September 3, civil aviation secretary RN Choubey wrote to state chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya on the issue, seeking a ban on kite flying within a 2 km radius of the airport.
“During the periodic meeting taken by me for the review of operational issues in the civil aviation sector, airport operators have raised the issue of use of lantern kites or wish kites especially during festivals. It was pointed out by safety and security agencies that such activities pose danger to the safety of an aircraft during take off and landing,” reads the note.
Also read: Cops to keep kites away from Mumbai airport