Height rules around Mumbai airport limit BKC, Wadala’s vertical growth
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) stated the height restrictions in these areas cannot be relaxed because it would interfere with the signals between the radars and aircraftmumbai Updated: Sep 22, 2017 23:58 IST
The hopes of planning agency Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to have taller buildings in its administered areas, Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and Wadala, have hit a dead end, for now.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) stated the height restrictions in these areas cannot be relaxed because it would interfere with the signals between the radars and aircraft.
ICAO was studying the possibility of relaxing height restrictions for buildings at BKC and Wadala on behalf of the MMRDA.
The height restriction, which is 80m at BKC and 100-102m at Wadala, is an issue because developers cannot consume the entire global Floor Space Index (FSI) of 4 in the area. This development will hit the authority’s plan of constructing an iconic International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) building. This will also come in the way of MMRDA’s revenue generation plans. The authority had planned to auction its plots at BKC and Wadala with higher FSI and rake in the moolah once the height restrictions were relaxed.
ICAO, in its report, stated that until radars of the Mumbai airport are relocated to a higher location, taller buildings within the airport funnel zone cannot be permitted. “The ICAO report has come in and they have concluded that the height restriction at BKC and Wadala cannot be lifted. If it is relaxed it would interfere with the airport’s radar. One of the recommendations of ICAO is to relocate the radar to a higher place. We will request the Airports Authority of India to change its location,” said UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA. The MMRDA will soon write to AAI and the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) to seek change in radar height.
The height restrictions near airports are imposed as the area falls in the trajectory of the runway. The restrictions are also imposed so that there is no interference with radar signals. The radars are a critical component that capture the aircraft location, identifies aircraft, picks up radio contact loss and hijack signal from the aircraft and relays it to the air traffic control.
However, a senior official said changing the location of the radar is also not going to be easy. “Internationally, norms are much more relaxed for the height of the radar and to relocate them. Here the Ministry of Civil Aviation will have to amend its policy to facilitate this change which could take time,” the official said.