Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Airports Authority of India chairman VP Aggarwal, executive chairman of Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) GVK Reddy, and managing director GVK-MIAL, GV Sanjay Reddy were present. MIAL, a joint venture between GVK-led consortium and AAI, runs the Mumbai airport.

The newly-built tower, 84 meters tall and spread over 2,800 square meters, is the tallest ATC tower in the country. The Union Minister said that modernization of airports and aircraft navigation services infrastructure has boosted the growth of aviation sector. "Airports Authority of India has done a remarkable job in modernizing navigation infrastructure," Singh said.

Stating that aviation is a branch of engineering that is least forgiving of mistakes, Singh said that an increased importance is being placed on safety. The new ATC tower at the CSIA is a precursor to the new integrated terminal which will be functional in the next few months, GVK Reddy said. MIAL, has however, not given any timeline as to when the new ATC tower will be operational.

The new tower offers 5 miles clear visibility for controllers and enables unobstructed view of the entire operational area of the airport. It is equipped with latest technology including electronic flight strips which will reduce the workload of controllers and improve operational efficiency. Mumbai ATC everyday handles approximately 750 landings and take-offs, besides controlling 960 other flights including international overflying traffic.

Once commissioned, the new ATC tower will be able to handle 46 flights per hour as, only 40 are being handled now, as per MIAL. Chavan said the state government is laying emphasis on the modernization of the airports in the state.

He also said that state government is considering a proposal regarding acquisition of land for the Navi Mumbai airport, whereby it would provide 22.5 percent of the developed land to the land owners instead of monetary compensation.

(Agencies)

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