With the Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) decision of not closing down the secondary runway at Juhu airport, several helicopter operators will now have to vacate the parking lot.
According to an AAI official, 45 helicopters are parked near the runway and if the secondary runway remains operational, only 15 aircrafts can be accommodated in the parking lot.
The AAI guidelines mandate that at least 75 metres on either side of the runway has to be kept vacant. The authorities, however, do not have any explanation for permitting parking for extra helicopters in the first place. “Due to a space crunch, parking is an issue,” said Panakal Chinson, general manager (Aerodromes), Western region.
Captain Uday Gelli, president of Rotary Wings Society of India, Western region, was not available for comment.
In January, AAI chairman VP Agarwal had assured senior management from the ONGC and helicopter operators in Delhi that the secondary runway would not be closed down.
But there have been rumours that some officials are trying their best to close the runway to favour developers.