No Clarity Yet on the Fate of the Abandoned Augusta Westland Helicopters at Juhu Airport

No Clarity Yet on the Fate of the Abandoned Augusta Westland Helicopters at Juhu Airport

A new report finds that 21 Augusta Westland helicopters are lying in a dilapidated state at the northern end of the Juhu Airport. These helicopters have been abandoned at the Pawan Hans Complex of the airport for more than 20 years.  

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The situation of these helicopters is so dire that some of them have turned into mosquito breeding sites, the report adds. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has informed Pawan Hans, the PSU helicopter service company responsible for these helicopters, but there has been no response yet.  

These helicopters were purchased by the government in 1985 for £65 million against the advice of experts. Pawan Hans officials have acknowledged that these helicopters have been wasting space that could be utilized for other purposes. 

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The General Manager at Pawan Hans, Sanjay Kumar, said that these helicopters were to be disposed of, but the plan hasn’t gone through as expected due to multiple issues. However, Kumar fell short of elaborating what the issues were. Some sources have said that this pertains to regulations and norms.

Separately, a Pawan Hans employee has reportedly said that pilots were unwilling to operate these helicopters owing to safety concerns. The fleet of helicopters was grounded after two crashes in 1988 and 1999 resulting in the death of 10 passengers. There have been further instances of crashes and deaths since then. 

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