With frequent complaints of safety scares caused by kites, sky lanterns and hot air balloons straying into flight paths, the civil aviation ministry has sought a ban on kite flying within a 2-km radius of the Mumbai airport.
Two weeks ago, aviation secretary RN Choubey wrote a note (HT has a copy of it) to state chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya on the issue.
“During the periodic meeting to review of operational issues in the civil aviation sector, airport operators have raised the issue of use of sky lantern 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,” the note reads.
The country’s second busiest airport has recorded frequent complaints on the issue, leading to flight disruptions and security scare.
Last May, hot air balloons flown as part of a promotional event by a Kalina-based company had sparked off massive scare.
In December, a city-bound flight of Dutch carrier KLM Airlines reported a laser light being flashed on its approach path to the main runway at the airport.
In January 2014, kites and hot air balloons had disrupted flight movement at the airport for about an hour on Makar Sankranti. According to records maintained by the Mumbai air traffic control, at least five city-bound flights were forced to abort landing at the last minute after a pilot spotted kites and balloons on the runway.
Kites are, like any foreign object, could suck into the aircraft engine and affect its performance, safety experts said.