Airports Authority of India may now have to revise the path flights will take to the Navi Mumbai airport.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) may have to alter the flight path for the Navi Mumbai International Airport as the Parsi community has refused to allow aircraft to fly over the Tower of Silence at Malabar Hill.
The Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) wanted AAI to make slight modifications in the flight path of aircraft landing and taking off at the upcoming airport at Navi Mumbai, since the two runways are located in a way that their extended lines would touch the periphery of Doongerwadi, where the community’s Tower of Silence is located.
At a meeting of senior aviation officials, trustees of the BPP and revenue department officials last month, community leaders made it clear that allowing aircraft to fly over the Tower of Silence would hurt the community’s religious feelings.
“We had a meeting with officials from the Civil Aviation Ministry and we told them that we will not be able to agree to their proposal. Since this issue is about the sentiments of the community, they will have to revise the flight path,” said Noshir Dadrewala, a member of the board of trustees of the BPP.
Following the meeting, top Parsi community members met once again to discuss the matter. However, their decision remained unchanged. “We have now written to the Airports Authority of India and the city collector’s office conveying the decision of the community. We will not be able to let any conditions about the no-fly zone to be relaxed. They must look for some other alternative since it is a question of sentiment and faith of the Parsi community,” said Yazdi Desai, chairperson of Bombay Parsi Punchayet.
Mumbai Mirror first reported BPP’s objection to letting planes fly over the Tower of Silence in its October 30, 2017 edition.
Desai said that the present requirements of the Airports Authority of India can be met by slight modifications in the flight path of landing and departing aircraft. “The Board of Trustees has not given its consent to the proposal. Now it is up to the aviation ministry to alter its plans,” Dadrewala said.
“The Parsi community is sensitive about the issue. They didn’t agree to our proposal at the meeting and were not willing to relax their conditions,” said Suresh Kakani, vice-chairman and managing director, Maharashtra Airport Development Company Ltd.
RN Chaubey, secretary, civil aviation, did not respond to calls and text messages from this newspaper.