Mumbai airport's runaway dream: A runway in the sea

An extended runway at Juhu that goes into the Arabian Sea - that is the unlikely scenario currently being bandied about to deal with congestion and saturation issues at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).

But Mumbai International Airport Ltd's (MIAL's) aviation advisor Pamidi Prasad Rao seems to think that the runway of the tiny AAI Juhu airport can extend into the Arabian Sea because the gradient of the continental shelf - the angle of the slope between the shore and the inside of the sea - is low.

But AAI (western region) regional executive director SRR Rao is far more circumspect. The feasibility study, he says, has to be done keeping in mind what will happen to the structures, roads, buildings and other facilities in the vicinity.

While it is true that if the Juhu Airport runway, if extended into the sea, will be able to serve bigger aircraft. But it is also a fact that any such move will cut Mumbai's popular Juhu Beach into half, something that will not be very popular with the city's citizenry. Residents of the area will also have to put up with much higher noise levels and inconvenience.

None of this bothers the MIAL though, which feels it is possible to have a taxi-track between Santa Cruz and Juhu airports that will allow them to function independently. The one question no one has asked yet, is what happens to the new airport planned for Navi Mumbai and the cross-harbour link, if this little round of expansion takes place.