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Rediff News  All News  » Business » DGCA to inspect Juhu airport

DGCA to inspect Juhu airport

September 02, 2011 10:34 IST

DGCADirector General of Civil Aviation Bharat Bhushan will inspect the Juhu airport in Mumbai on Friday, following complaints from operators about lack of infrastructure.

Helicopter operations were shifted to Juhu in January after Mumbai airport authorities banned chopper movements.

However, the move has led to protests from helicopter operators and corporates, who said the Juhu facility did not have adequate hangars.

"There are several operational and infrastructure issues.

"The number of hangars is not sufficient and helicopters are parked in the open.

"With Mumbai airport not allowing helicopter operations an additional 10-12 helicopters have moved to Juhu.

"The Airport Authority of India had planned an investment of Rs 48 crore (Rs 480 million) to upgrade the airport but nothing has happened so far," Uday Geli, regional president of Rotary Wing Society of India, said.

Sources said corporate houses such as Reliance Industries Limited and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and Essar do not have their own hangar

space in Juhu and have to park choppers in open or in hangars owned by other companies.

"Exposing helicopters in rain can affect their performance over a period of time.

"Also, operators are unable to carry out maintenance if the helicopter is parked in the open," an Airport Authority of India official said.

"AAI has plans to construct 29 hangars but this will take 2-3 years."

RWSI members are also expected to take up the issue of the airport shutting operations because of flooding of the runway during monsoon.

"The runway gets submerged due to flooding in monsoon and although visibility is normal operations are suspende," the source added.

Earlier in the week, the airport was shut for over 24 hours because of flooding on the runway.

As a consequence even offshore operations were shut.

The AAI intiative to install pumps to drain out the water has not worked when it rains incessantly.

"The problem of flooding aggravated last year after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation connected a storm water drain from adjoining colonies into a pond inside the airport boundary," he said.

Aneesh Phadnis in Mumbai