‘Divert aircraft to ease traffic’
A preliminary assessment by consultancy major KPMG said the Juhu airstrip could be used to land small planes such as 30-seater turboprop aircraft. It currently caters to at least 90 helicopter operations a day. Soubhik Mitra reports.mumbai Updated: Jun 30, 2010 01:11 IST
The Juhu aerodrome has the potential to cut down flight delays at the Mumbai airport.
A preliminary assessment by consultancy major KPMG said the Juhu airstrip could be used to land small planes such as 30-seater turboprop aircraft. It currently caters to at least 90 helicopter operations a day.
Last month, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had appointed KPMG to conduct a feasibility study for the Juhu aerodrome.
“It [the Juhu aerodrome] is the best option to decongest Mumbai airport for the time being,” said Amber Dubey, director, Aerospace and Defence, KPMG. “The preliminary report will be submitted to AAI by the end of July.”
Small aircraft comprise 15 per cent of the 700 daily take-offs and landings at the city airport. Shifting small aircraft traffic to Juhu could relieve the main airport, which is burdened with 35 to 40 flight movements every hour.
“The airport can handle a maximum of 30 movements in an hour. But excess flight allotments and construction work on the airfield lead to delays,”said a senior air traffic control official requesting anonymity. "We would suggest that the 1,100-metre Juhu airstrip be expanded by at least 900 metres to make it feasible for operations.”Aviation experts feel that Juhu is the best interim option since the proposed airport at Navi Mumbai is yet to get environmental clearance.
“The state government needs to think of an alternative because the existing airport will soon be saturated,” said Milan Zatakia, national vice president, Air Passenger Association of India.
Ministry of Environment and Forest on Monday asked the state to clarify objections recorded during public hearings for the new airport.