Mumbai: Night landing services may start soon at Juhu Airport

Expect the number of sorties operating from and to Juhu Airport to drastically go up. The Juhu Airport officials have now taken a step ahead in improving the services at Juhu Airport. The airport officials, who had a long-time plan to commence night landing services, have not only finalised the plan but also sent the proposal to the Airport Authority of India (AAI)’s headquarter in Delhi.

Senior officials from AAI say that once the proposed plan is approved, it would take six months for the Juhu airport authorities to commence night operations. According to AAI officials, the proposed cost for this system is Rs. 6 crore. The airport that is spread across 3385 acres has around 33 companies operating from it.

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“The approval to the proposed plan is expected anytime soon, after which the work for night-landing operations will commence on an immediate basis. At present, medical helicopter ambulances can land/take-off only during the day. The night medical ambulances though are allowed to operate from Mumbai airport if it's late evening or night, but it affects the normal flight movements. After this system is put in place, all night operations will run smoothly,” explain an AAI official.

At present, there are 100 sorties that operate from and to Juhu Airport. After the night landing services begin, this number will almost be doubled,” explained another AAI official. Dr. MK Vimal, Juhu Airport Director, confirmed that the plan was waiting for approval after which the work for the services would commence.

The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and private charter companies have been demanding to start his facility since long. There are several big and small private charter operators operating from there. Juhu airport, the oldest civil aviation airport in the country, operates sorties from sunrise to sunset, as no operations are possible after sunset.

The unavailability of night landing services from Juhu Airport had become a major issue when recently a Pawan Hans helicopter was learnt to be missing and the Pawan Hans officials could not operate from the airport the same night for the rescue operations.

It is also learnt that the AAI is coming up with a plan of widening their dispersal area, for which they have proposed a cost of Rs.12 crore, and approval for the same is awaited.

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