View Full Version : Landing, take-off at VABB unsafe

6th May 2006, 21:51
Mumbai airport has as many as 165 obstacles in the approach and take-off areas — the highest in the country. The obstacles — trees, hoardings, buildings, hills, etc — are shown on the pre-flight charts available with pilots of all airlines.

This means a disaster is waiting to happen at the airport, which has an average of 550 aircraft movements a day.

Incidentally, Delhi airport has 42 obstacles, Chennai 48 and Kolkata 20.
The obstacles make an aircraft’s glide path at Mumbai airport one of the steepest in the world. In the words of an Air India (AI) pilot, the glide path is the stretch an aircraft covers in ‘its final stages of landing’.

A pilot landing at or taking off for Mumbai for the first time could easily run the plane into one of the obstacles around the airport periphery, noted the AI pilot.

“All the obstacles have been mapped in the pre-flight charts, but bigger aircraft like Boeing 747 and 777 are likely to face more difficulties,” he added.

An air traffic controller said the obstacles have increased over the years with the rise in encroachments around the airport.


— Hoardings
— Hoardings on buildings
— Buildings
— Antennae
— Trees
— Kalpana Theatre
— Factories
— Slums


Buster Cherry
6th May 2006, 22:07
As long as charts are up to date & relavent performance calculations are conducted per A/C type, can`t really see the problem.
Seems like more Journalist sensationalism to me.

7th May 2006, 03:19
Have you operated there? I have had no problems...

7th May 2006, 04:50

How do you account for the height of the new control tower in relation to the requirements of ICAO Annex 14?


7th May 2006, 05:58
Crapper's corner there at the end of 27 near the hold short position is a hazard as well:yuk:

7th May 2006, 07:18
On top of all d s**t U face in BOM:
3 months ago I arrived at BOM with 20' to spare before 27 was to be opened. 14 was being used but with marginal tailwind. I elected to hold as most flights that arrived after me. Only a Jet Airways ATR managed to land. We were all informed that 27 will reopen with 10 min delay after the published NOTAM time. It reopened only after another 17 min - a total delay of 27'! On top of this, contrary to worldwide practice, Being #1 I was only released from the stack at 10000' at the time of the rw opening, not in advance - in order to land at or a short time after the rw reopened. Altogether I landed with a whoppish 37 min delay after the original NOTAM time.
Shame for the locals who let themselves be caught with their pants down with sched mainenance on the main rw and marginal wx on the alternate rw!!!
But of course my company did not hear so far from the local DCA, after my report....:mad:
Just to add another piece to the pile of s--t:
I was shot at on short final 27 at Diwalli (local hindu festival) with fireworks from the small hilolck just off the CL. While I belive these are harmless, they distracted my junior FO and he botched up the landing...
Beware Guys, Beware Guys of the demons of unsustainable growth in India!

7th May 2006, 07:30
Little has changed in 30 years but as you say what this space with "open skies" and traffic build up, together with the incompetent ATC.....

7th May 2006, 08:23
Maybe another consideration would be about the 27 surface conditions... Every time I am waiting to see my nose gear come through the cabin floor...

7th May 2006, 09:37
welcome guys to the real aviation world of the


(as so promoted by the Tourism Office.) Every day of flying here is quite a big challenge !

Few Cloudy
7th May 2006, 17:43
Lizard King,

Which runway is refered to here?

Used to be a displaced threshold on 27 due to obstacles.

The airline I flew for allowed a landing at the displaced threshold
too - thus ensuring you flew below the corrected GS...

Desk experts!


7th May 2006, 17:51
Not the worst airport in the world by a long way but I do agree about the obstacles. I'm sure when they built the place they spent a long time lining up the runways with the biggest hills they could see. If 27 was 26 or 28 the final appoach would be almost obstruction free...

7th May 2006, 18:21
Just out of interest what is the angle of the ILS at Mumbai?

7th May 2006, 20:24
3.3 degree glide path

ILS starts at 3700 feet and is 10.5 nm long

critical winge
7th May 2006, 20:52
Mumbai HF what a frickin joke!!
Runway surface condition what a frickin joke
Terminal condition what a frickin joke (unless you are a RAT)
Obstacles well..... frickin joke
Sludge from the slums, 27 threshold. Incl the stray dogs!
What a frickin joke!!

There is nothing NOTHING i could say that was pleasant about mumbai to fly into or else.

Discusting, dirty, dreadfiul, not even the monsoon in about 3 weeks will wash it clean. Never has done before. As for the controlling..... What to do?

I'm not peaved, just telling the truth, messy, unprofessional nasty place to fly into. If you disagree you aint flown in there enough!!

7th May 2006, 23:12
stop winching guys... the chicken tikka masala at cafe leopold has been the top of the line since 1871... and a cold kingfisher....
the best thing in BOM is when your hear 'Gear up"

8th May 2006, 01:29
How do you account for the height of the new control tower in relation to the requirements of ICAO Annex 14?
I don't.

I don't often read ICAO Annex 14, and I try hard to not run into control towers regardless of their height.

Is Mumbai an "adventure" like every other airport within 3000 miles? Indeed!

Maybe an An-124 or A300 or B757 will lose an engine at V1 one of these days, and mow down some of those obstacles. I doubt it will have much effect -- the Indians will just rebuild them...

8th May 2006, 02:14
I am based out of Mumbai and i wish i could say that you guys are full of it, but after a TCAS incident (i filed a report on March 13th, please dont ask me why i can remember the date, and have yet to hear anything from DGCA and probabaly will never either, as it was an ATC vector to opposing traffic which triggered it off.), and countless other silly things that have happened to me i agree to all the negatives that have been posted.
This is what i have learnt in 6 months of flying in and out of VABB 1) I never carry less that 30 minutes extra hold above the so called 15 for traffic, and 2) have the efis mode in centre map and watch anything turning yellow like a hawk.

I just love the way the locals do things at the airport. If there is any work to be done on site then the workers and their families pitch up their tents next to the runway and live on the spot while maintenance is being carried out etc. Crappers corner (end of 27) is frequently used as a latrine.


8th May 2006, 05:58
Hmmm, first operated into BOM over thirty years ago with the 'ole B707, and from the sound of it, it ain't changed...
Haven't been there in about five years and can't say I miss it all that much....except the few topless gals out at the Reef Hotel on Mudd Island.:\

14th May 2006, 22:43
Disgusting place beware!

WX: unreliable, tailwind on ILS 27
Rwy: very bad, bumpy, slippery, stray animals etc
ATC: unreliable, expect holdings 30min
Obstacles: Lots, even Tower not according ICAO guidelines
Tarmac: complicated clearances, crossing rwys, stray dogs and people
Terminal: as soon as gate is hooked up you smell it
Security: doubtful, slums around, they even stole the LOC last year!

And of course leaving BOM you will visit crappers corner at Rwy27, it sucks :yuk:

Hand Solo
14th May 2006, 22:58
I don't often read ICAO Annex 14, and I try hard to not run into control towers regardless of their height

You wouldn't have to be very far off the centreline of R14 to hit the tower. Our company restrictions require us to have the tower in sight at all times when landing 14/32.

15th May 2006, 09:03



15th May 2006, 14:27
Just part of the fun flying to this part of the world! Calling for start the other day, due to 27 being shut, big delays and the ground guy maxed out and didn't have a clue how many aircraft were waiting or in what order - we went from No5 to No 6 in 10 minutes:ooh: Always a tailwind on 27 on approach and don't believe a word they say about anything! They just want to please everybody but won't admit it if they don't know/understand something!!!:ugh:

Still, the Chakra on Andheri Road still serves the best meals and it's a great place. Enjoy:)

16th May 2006, 05:32
Gets interesting when 27 takes a dump for sure....:ugh:

17th May 2006, 16:29
Guys look at the other view point:

-Controllers have to deal with a huge increase in aviation traffic which has more than doubled in a year.

-The govt has to spend all development money to rehabilitate the slum dwellers who are occupying part of AAI land.

-The Rwy was designed about 70 years back.

-Aviation in India was an elitist subject till a few months back.

I can go on and on, but the bottom line is this is one of the worlds most successful democracies and they have to keep their citizens happy.....

Grin and bear it like all of us are doing..

17th May 2006, 17:51
quote from jagbag
"-The Rwy was designed about 70 years back."

what he forgot to add was it was done by us the brits :D
trouble is they built the airport and a public toilet at the end of 27

whilst reading all the negatives about bombay i do like the place the people are friendly and do go out of thier way to accomodate us ,in a overcrowded country with a population of about 1 billion i think they are doing a good job of a bad job :ok:

Few Cloudy
17th May 2006, 19:31
I think we have to differenciate between listing deficiencies and complaining about our lot.

A while back a whole lot of criticism was levelled at ZRH on another thread. I don't recall anyone being told to "keep out of the kitchen" then. I also flew some wicked approaches on Japanese islands and enjoyed it - but it was necessary to appreciate the hazards all the same.

If we can't mention deficiencies on this site, just because the people there are nice, where can we?


17th May 2006, 23:00
I think the problem is, Few cloudy, is that many of the younger guys on the new(er) fancy glass equipment, with just barely adequate training in real FLYING skills, just look at VABB, and see nothing but trouble.

IE, if it ain't a normal 3 degree straight in ILS, ala many airports in Europe, some of these guys just don't know how to cope.

Companies are no better either, suggesting that the automatics be used all the time, these folks just don't get the handling skills necessary, and that really is a shame, IMO.
How about...disconnect the autopilot, bias the flight director out of view, and FLY THE AEROPLANE.

Hand Solo
18th May 2006, 00:58
Errr, have you been to VABB lately? R27 is a straight in ILS just like most of the ones in Europe, the only difference being its a 3.3deg slope, which is hardly challenging given just a couple of minutes pre-planning.

sec 3
18th May 2006, 08:12
If you don't like to go there, book sick. I spent 3 months there last year with Jet on the 340. Loved every minute of it. ATC there is doing the best they can with limited resources. Chalk it up to experience. Thanks to all the Jet pilots and cabin crew for making my stay memorable. A very professional bunch of people:ok:

James Brake
18th May 2006, 12:39
Completely agree. I've just come back from a very enjoyable VABB nightstop.

If you can't hack it, take up plumbing.

On the other hand, if you want to talk about a truly godforsaken third world airport, let's start a thread about JFK.

19th May 2006, 08:44
JB and d others,
This thread is not about yr BOM nightstop feedback. Its about the totally corrupted safety of VABB.
I go there at least 1/month, last year I did 5 in a row over 3 weeks.
Its unbelievable how bad things are on a BAD DAY. I m not talkin bout d guys who fly there 1/year or 1/2yrs.
Yes, I also enjoy the seafood at Krishna in Colaba. But its not bout how good food or women are in BOM.
We need feedback on all d s--t that keeps flyin around U in and off VABB.
So us, who get to risk our lives and the pax's ones, know what to expect!!!
So do not waste yr&my time unless U have to say someth on the mark!

Few Cloudy
19th May 2006, 14:17
Thank you Dessas,

I guess that is what I was trying to say too!


19th May 2006, 15:45
On the other hand, if you want to talk about a truly godforsaken third world airport, let's start a thread about JFK.

Absolutely spot on!!!

21st May 2006, 19:40
Yes, agree too.

In the last two months I've been to BLR, DEL, BOM, CCU & MAA. Considering there's been hardly any improvent in the aviation infrastructure since these airports were built and traffic levels are at record highs, I think they are doing a bloody good job with what they have. There is still an LOT of room for improvement, though. Don't go there with 5mins holding fuel, cross-check everything and keep an eagle eye on other traffic. If you've been to Lagos (or even JFK) you won't find it a problem, it may even be a bit of a relief. I would rather do an ILS onto 27 @ BOM during the Monsoon than a 'Canarsie' in similar weather at you-know-where...

31st May 2006, 15:49
Yes, I've only done Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi once but I didn't see any great hazzards.

Don't like the approach into 27 at BOM? You'd LOVE the LOC 27 at San Diego. Skimming a shanty or a parking garage on approach--what's the difference? Everyone here speaks wistfully of the checkerboard approach into Kai Tek but gets nervous about BOM rwy 27.

I do a 3.3 glideslope every so often when ATC keeps me too high. Big deal.

Dogs on the runway? A dog makes the same size dent in the plane as a seagull at JFK. At least the dogs in BOM don't fly.

No, I don't fly into Indian airports every day but I got the same level of disdain for JFK after flying in there every day. Moderate chop on the first third of 32L. Waiting for takeoff for 1:40 during the evening rush hour. TCAS alerts over Long Island. The terminals stink (not by Indian standards, but...). Language barrier with the controllers. ;) At least the people in India are friendly.

India IS behind the curve with it's infrastructure updates. Guess the Brits gave up about 50 years too soon... :hmm: TC

31st May 2006, 22:10
JFK unsafe, BOM much better. Right.

I've now heard it all.

In the words of that ever-popular Yank, Mr. John McEnroe, "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!!" :=

Hand Solo
1st Jun 2006, 00:32
Never been offered a visual approach at night with no approach or threshold lights at BOM. The vectoring is better at BOM too. And they don't turn off the ILS or give you a VOR approach in a howling crosswind for noise abatement purposes either.

We can be serious. I know where I'd rather go.

1st Jun 2006, 22:12

As someone who makes use of both airports, I would take the one in India every time. The ATC at BOM may not be the very best but at least they're on your side...

1st Jun 2006, 22:39
Please clarify. Never operated with an ATC person who was not on my side. HF Comms/language/ability seem to be issues pertaining to safety and professional standards.

But JFK controllers not on our side, and BOM controllers with us? I am baffled. Clear explanation is due. Almost a racist theme here.

1st Jun 2006, 23:56
RH you would only understand what people are talking about if you have operated in to JFK and BOM and I have and do. There is nothing racist going on here. BOM is a s**t hole but ATC are doing there best and it generally works but you have to be ever vigilant, especially on the ground when you might come across people and stray animals anywhere. As for JFK, just as HS mentions, recently given a Canarsie (visual curved approach to RW13L) rolling wings level below 400 feet in a 747 with no ILS, VASIS or Approach Lights…just a piece of concrete with some lights down the sides. Obviously doable but not what one would expect from an International US gateway. It is worse than third world destinations that I have flown too like BOM,LOS,LUN etc.
And just to add insult to injury on arrival at the stand I was informed that the immigration computer had crashed in that terminal and after the bags had been off loaded I got pushed back and had to start up and taxi to another terminal where the pax could deplane.
JFK also holds my taxi time record before take-off…. 1:41 !! Set on the same trip.
I have to say that sometimes one can get the distinct impression that JFK controllers are not on your side. The movie ‘Pushing Tin’ was an eye opener to me. I have been on vectors at JFK for the ILS 22L when ATC let us get too high, was then cleared for the VOR/DME approach so that we had to sort out our own height out, which was way too high…… I politely declined and insisted on the ILS which obviously required more vectoring to get the height off to intercept the G/S.

sidestick stirrer
2nd Jun 2006, 05:05
Not having been into there since flying the L1011-500, can anyone tell me if the approach lights to 27 still look like every single bulb is of a different wattage? Not to mention all the dark gaps where locals were making off with them....

2nd Jun 2006, 09:48
But JFK controllers not on our side, and BOM controllers with us? I am baffled. Clear explanation is due.
As others have said, genuine third-world airports require you to pay special attention but ATC are generally trying their hardest to give you a good service. Many times into JFK I have been messed about like tailspin2001 above, including being given a stream of taxi instructions a few seconds after touchdown. Of course, there are days when everything is fine but you still get the impression that your needs are secondary to something more important. It's like being the puck in a game of ice-hockey.

Almost a racist theme here.
Sorry, I don't know what race the controllers belonged to. All I can judge them on is their level of service and professionalism.

...can anyone tell me if the approach lights to 27 still look like every single bulb is of a different wattage?
Not something that has stuck in my mind but it wouldn't surprise me if this were the case. Delhi has taxiway edge lights like that and they are actually quite attractive, with a range of brightness and colour that would make great fairy lights. Some of the blues are almost into the ultraviolet!

2nd Jun 2006, 12:54
fullwings :D top drawer comment there
yes it is people what makes this world go round unless you come from crawley of course .:p