News headlines

Manisha Singhal / DNA

Mumbai, Aug 18: An extended runway at Juhu that goes into the Arabian Sea - this is what the aviation think tank is currently mulling over to deal with congestion and saturation issues at the space-starved Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).

The proposal, currently with the civil aviation ministry, was first mooted in a feasibility study and a subsequent report by a commissioned consultant appointed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the repatriation of the runway a year back.

After a brief lull, the issue of repatriation of the runway is again being considered for decongesting the CSIA and also for segregation of commercial aviation from general, the latter showing a growth of 19 per cent last year.

That the current agency, the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) - responsible for the modernisation of the CSIA - is looking at Juhu as an option for the purposes mentioned above, becomes evident by a visit made to the airport by MIAL Chairman GVK Reddy a couple of months ago.

The Kansai International Airport of Japan, the world’s first ocean airport built on a landfill island in Osaka Bay, is seen as a reference point for the proposal.

Currently with the AAI, the Juhu runway system has two runways - a main runway with a length of 1,143 metres (of which only about 600 metres is actually available) and a cross runway with a length of about 752 metres.

MIAL’s Aviation Advisor Pamidi Prasad Rao said, “The runway can extend into the Arabian Sea because the continental shelf, which is the slope between the earth and the inside of the sea, is less.

This is an advantage. Also, if considering such a proposal, there has to be a runway correction at Juhu so that it can be used as a parallel runway.”

According to SRR Rao, regional executive director of AAI (western region), the entire feasibility study was done keeping in mind what will happen to the structures, roads and buildings in the vicinity.

“Once the option of extending the runway into the sea is accepted, there can be solutions that can be worked out. As of now, for us, Juhu remains as it is,” said Rao.

In fact, the Juhu Airport, if allowed to extend the runway into the sea, will also be able to serve bigger aircrafts.

The MIAL also said that it is possible to have a taxi-track between Santa Cruz and Juhu airports and allow them to function independently.

“An entire transport system with road and railway networks can be woven around these two airports,” said Rao.

The CSIA needs a solution to combat the growing congestion problems. Added to this, the Navi Mumbai airport is still to take off. The Delhi International Airport is already considering closing its doors to smaller aircrafts.


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