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You may not be able to fly sky lanterns around airports soon

The radius will be calculated from the aerodrome reference point (ARP), which is the parameter for giving approvals for all constructions in and around airports.

mumbai Updated: Apr 19, 2018 11:36 IST
Neha LM Tripathi
Neha LM Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai airport,airports,ministry of Civil Aviation
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has proposed a ban on sky lanterns in a 10-km radius around airports. (HT File (Representational Image))

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has proposed a ban on sky lanterns in a 10-km radius around airports.

Lanterns are a threat to flight operations. According to the government’s notification issued on April 10, the government will be adding the clause to the existing The Aircraft Rules, 1937, for which they have sought suggestions and objections from citizens within 30 days.

The radius will be calculated from the aerodrome reference point (ARP), which is the parameter for giving approvals for all constructions in and around airports. The ministry said it will consider any suggestion or objection with respect to the draft rules before May 10. The gazette stated, “Draft rules may be called the Aircraft (……. Amendment) Rules, 2018. These rules shall come into force on the date of their final publication in the Official Gazette. In The Aircraft Rules, 1937,― (A) in rule 66, after sub-rule (4), the following sub-rule shall be inserted, namely:— “(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-rules (1) to (4), no person shall launch a lantern kite or a wish kite from a place located within 10km of any ARP in India.”

Sky lanterns have been a major safety concern not only for the pilots, but also the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC). Pilots and ATCs have reported an increase in the number of sky lanterns around airports. In 2015, the Mumbai ATC wrote to the Delhi headquarters complaining that the growing number of sky lanterns around the airport could lead to accidents.

An Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said, “This is a much needed move. Mumbai ATC receives excessive alerts from pilots during festivals.” The Indian aviation rules restrict flying of instruments such as hot balloons, drones, sky lanterns in the approach path of a runway.

This means no object can fly within 15.5 degrees on each side of the ARC and up to an altitude of around 2,700ft. Mumbai police has banned flying of sky lanterns in the city.

First Published: Apr 19, 2018 10:50 IST