The Airports Authority of India has plans to give a facelift to the Juhu airstrip (India's first civil aviation airport) within a year. AAI will be investing around Rs 75 crore to Rs 80 crore in this project.
The authorities believe the move will help in decongestion of the Mumbai airport by 15 per cent to 20 per cent. The airstrip is currently used by small aircraft, gliders and a heliport to ferry Oil and Natural Gas Croporation personnel.
VP Agrawal, member, planning, AAI said, "Initially, we will raise the height of the strip by 1.5 meter. As the strip is near the sea, this will avoid flooding during the monsoons. Initially, the strip will be allowed for the landing of small aircraft. When the strip is extended by another 3,000 feet, larger aircraft too can land."
AAI is waiting for environment clearances to extend the length of the strip. The extension of the strip will be towards the sea.
With regard to the development of new airports in the north-eastern states, AAI is developing airports in Sikkim, Itanagar and Kohima, which will be operational within three years time.
The AAI will also undertake two more new projects in Kokrajhar district in Assam and at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. For this around Rs 200-300 crore would be invested.
"We will have to start everything from scratch as they are in hilly regions. We want to go to such areas because no one else wants too," said Agarwal.
At present the authority is developing around 44 non-metro airports across the country and this year they are investing close to Rs 2,000 crore.
Moreover, Air Traffic Control authority is investing Rs 600 crore to upgrade the ATCs across the country.