In the works, restoration of secondary runway

The restoration of the secondary runway, which is 720 metres long and 20 metres wide, will cost nearly Rs 3 crore

With the Airports Authority of India (AAI) having recently decided to keep the secondary runway at the Juhu airport operational, the authorities at the airport have moved a proposal for resurfacing it. The runway has been in dire need for repairs for more than two decades now.

The AAI, which was earlier contemplating closing the runway permanently, will now resurface it and raise the height at both the ends by about five or six inches, as the runway is often under water during the monsoon considering the aerodrome is situated in a low-lying area.

"This runway has been in a terrible state for 20-30 years now and has not been tended to. The situation is so bad that we can't find any record for when the resurfacing of this runway was last done," a senior official at the Juhu airport said.

The restoration of the secondary runway, which is 720 metres long and 20 metres wide, will cost nearly Rs 3 crore. The decision to repair the runway was put off for the past couple of years over uncertainty on whether the runway would be shut down permanently.

In 2011, a team of AAI officials had prepared a report recommending the closure of the secondary runway saying it is unsafe for operations. The report was criticised by air safety experts, saying closing the runway would mean curtailing operations at the Juhu airport, which caters to roughly 100 movements a day and is one of the oldest and busiest aerodromes in the country.

Those against the move had said if the secondary runway is shut, pilots would have to depend on the primary runway, which cannot be used when the neighbouring Mumbai airport is using its secondary runway as the two have conflicting paths.

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