Officials at the Juhu aerodrome on Tuesday asked charter operators to beef up security after central security agencies issued an alert that small aircraft may be used for a terror attack.
The Juhu aerodrome is mainly used for small aircraft and helicopter operations.
Sources in the Juhu Air Traffic Control (ATC) said private charter companies have been told to accept bookings only from regular clients. "We have asked them to avoid bookings from strangers at least for a week. They will also have to submit details about passengers to the police," said an ATC official. The operators have also been told to submit flight plans at least three hours before any journey so that security agencies have enough time to check credentials of passengers.
Usually, airplanes at Juhu are fuelled hours before takeoff. Now, airport officials have asked operators to load fuel only 30 minutes before the sorties. "We want to ensure that aircraft parked in the airfield have minimal fuel," the official said.
While only private security guards hired by charter companies usually man aircraft at the hangars, in view of the alert, Juhu airport has borrowed manpower from the Mumbai police. A batch of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans is likely to be deployed at the airfield, which is facing encroachment issues
Last month, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had written to the civic body asking it to remove encroachments from its premises..
Airport officials at Juhu estimate that about 29 acres of its land has been taken over by people staying in the neighbouring Nehru Nagar slums. "About 200 hutments are located barely 100 metres from the main runway," said an airport official. The airport boundary wall is also broken, making the airfield easily accessible.