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"Mumbai airport most unsafe in India"

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Landing, take-off at Mumbai airport unsafe
By Kashif Khusro 
India - Mid-Day Mumbai

Mumbai airport has as many as 165 obstacles in the approach and take-off
areas - the highest in the country. The obstacles - trees, hoardings,
buildings, hills, etc - are shown on the pre-flight charts available with
pilots of all airlines. 

This means a disaster is waiting to happen at the airport, which has an
average of 550 aircraft movements a day. 

Incidentally, Delhi airport has 42 obstacles, Chennai 48 and Kolkata 20.

The obstacles make an aircraft's glide path at Mumbai airport one of the
steepest in the world. In the words of an Air India (AI) pilot, the glide
path is the stretch an aircraft covers in 'its final stages of landing'. 

A pilot landing at or taking off for Mumbai for the first time could easily
run the plane into one of the obstacles around the airport periphery, noted
the AI pilot.

"All the obstacles have been mapped in the pre-flight charts, but bigger
aircraft like Boeing 747 and 777 are likely to face more difficulties," he

An air traffic controller said the obstacles have increased over the years
with the rise in encroachments around the airport.

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