Domestic airlines have approached the Mumbai airport operator to install a crucial landing aid on the airport’s secondary runway in order to smoothen operations. Airlines feel the need for an Instrument Landing System (ILS) on the secondary runway now because the main runway is shut for repairs from 9am to 5pm daily except Sundays, since October last year.
ILS is a ground-based landing aid that guides aircraft using a combination of radio signals and high-intensity lighting to enable safe landing. The aid is mainly used during low visibility conditions such as on cloudy days or in the evenings. “Winds often disrupt flight movement on one end of the secondary runway called the 14-end which is currently being used. The other end, 32-end, will be ideal for operations if an ILS is installed,” said an official with a private airline.
Weathermen concurred that city’s wind pattern makes runway 14 unfavourable for operations. “The 14-end has a perennial tailwind problem,” said an official with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) airport bureau. Tailwinds are winds blowing towards the direction of an flight.
Acting on the request from airlines, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has started examining the possibilities of installing ILS on the runway. “The Delhi headquarters are considering some options for ILS procedures on the smaller runway, but the project does not have a deadline yet,” said a AAI official.
The airport, however, needs to iron out certain safety challenges before starting operations from the 32-end.