According to news reports, AAI has mooted a new proposal that might lead to the runway’s closure. Last week, the AAI headquarters in Delhi sought height clearances for a new Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower and a terminal building, which are likely to be built around 60 metres from the runway. “If the structures come up, operations on the secondary runway will have to be stopped,” an airport official was quoted as saying in a report in Hindustan Times.
According to their presentation to the AAI, helicopters operating from Juhu airport’s main runway come in proximity to flights headed for the Mumbai airport when it uses its secondary runway during emergency landings. The decision also brought several upcoming buildings in the neighbourhood under scanner as the AAI had given them height clearance based on the assumption that the secondary runway would be shut. “There is a strong possibility that the new proposal was mooted under pressure from the builders’ lobby. Developers had threatened to drag AAI to court if the height clearances were withdrawn,” said another official.
Earlier last week, the Rotary Wing Society of India (RWSI), a think tank for helicopter operations, had written to the AAI expressing concern over the delay in issue of written directives stating the secondary runway would stay open.