If a proposal to expand the runway at the Juhu airport into the sea passes muster,the runway could well be propped on stilts. Much of it nearly 1.5 km- could be built on pillars and columns and extended into the sea for small planes to take off and land. Around 600 metres of the runway would be on land.
A runway on stilts appears to be an interesting possibility, said Amber Dubey,director (aviation) with consultant KPMG.
From an environmental perspective,a runway on stilts is said to be much better than reclaiming the land from the sea. Also,stilts would be cheaper and easier to build. However,these are just options and would have to be approved by the AAI, Dubey said.
The Airports Authority of India had appointed KPMG to study the expansion and the preliminary report is expected at the end of July.
With the Navi Mumbai airport still way off,the Juhu airport is being examined as a stop-gap possibility to ease congestion at the Mumbai airport (CSIA). For over a year,no new flight route has been sanctioned to Mumbai,and none is expected unless congestion goes down.
Among other options,one is to see if the current 8/26 runway at Juhu can be tilted slightly so that it is parallel to the CSIAs main runway 9/27. At 1,035 metres from the CSIA runway,it would also meet ICAO standards and could act as a parallel runway for Mumbai for simultaneous operations,which would be more efficient than the current cross-runway operations. The CSIA itself has not enough land for a parallel runway.