Mumbai, Jun 4: The monsoons in Mumbai are not only disrupting traffic movement on roads, but also in air. Since the showers hit the city on Tuesday, the radar system in the airport has gone for a toss.
The radar was upgraded just a couple of months back and its coverage area was raised to 500 nautical miles. After the failure on Wednesday, its coverage went down to 50. As a result, several flights were held up at a height of over 30,000 feet.
The failure occured during the peak traffic hours in Mumbai. Over fifty flights arrive and depart from Mumbai during this time.
Domestic flights were the worst affected. Sources say the lights or localiser on the main runway, which guide an aircraft to touch down, has not been functioning after Wednesday evening's rainfall.
Failure to communicate with the Airport Authority means that the aircraft outside the the radar's perimeter will have to stay air-borne till they receive specifications to land. Experts say such a situation could lead to mid-air collisions.
"If we are flying at 25,000 feet and at that moment, there is another aircraft at that altitude and the pilot does not start commencing the vector as per his flight plan, it is going to be disastrous and can cause a mid-air collision," says a pilot, Captain Ajay Anand.
With radars not functioning properly, dangers of increasing air traffic loom large. And as the Met department predicts more rains, chances are delays and cancellations will give air travellers a tough time.