This piece of news should come as a breath of fresh air for helicopter pilots at Juhu aerodrome.
After MiD DAY reported about the poor coordination between two Air Traffic Control (ATC) towers leading to delay of flights, the situation has completely changed with a new system coming into place.
Now, the ATC at Juhu would be able to authorise its helicopter operations independently.
As reported on February 15 ('Poor communication delays 25 helicopter flights every day', MiD DAY), the Juhu aerodrome ATC required permission of the ATC tower at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) to operate twenty five of its one hundred daily chopper operations for cities like Pune, Nashik, Ratnagiri etc.
For these movements, the Juhu ATC used to inform the CSIA ATC, which then contacted the Mumbai approach.
The feedback was then transmitted back to Juhu ATC. This cumbersome course affected helicopter takeoffs every day, often resulting in cancellations. The helicopter companies and pilot bodies even took the matter to higher authorities, complaining about the delays adversely affecting their clientele.
A series of meetings were also conducted with ATC, CSIA to resolve the issue.
The new changes were introduced from February 15. "It is a big relief for us and we thank the CSIA ATC for resolving the issue.
Now the operations for cities like Pune, Nashik, Ratnagiri and others would be cleared by Juhu ATC and the old lengthy process is terminated," said a helicopter company official wishing anonymity.
When contacted, G Dasgupta, general manager, ATC, CSIA, confirmed the changes.
"The Juhu ATC will not have to take the permission of CSIA ATC for these operations. Majority of the commercial helicopter movements comes under this area. To avoid delays, modifications have been made, through which the Juhu ATC can permit takeoffs of these flights itself. Also, for the operations related to Mumbai High, the Juhu ATC will take the call," Dasgupta told MiD DAY.