Giant Billboards In Mumbai Are Blocking Airport Takeoffs, Costing Air India Millions

Air India needs to leave 51 people off every flight from Mumbai, India to Newark thanks to giant billboards that force planes to make a rapid ascent on take off, reports Anurag Kotoky at Bloomberg.

The 16-hour direct flight on the Boeing 777-300 ER requires the plane to fly with a full fuel tank.

To allow for a full tank and a rapid ascent, Air India has to fly 15% below capacity, a move that has lost the airline $US1.6 million a month.

Click on to Bloomberg to see photos of the billboards »

From Kotoky:

“On the highway to the airport most of the billboards are located on top of or between residential high-rises. While some of the tallest are to be found 12 kilometers (7 miles) from the hub, in a residential neighbourhood 2 kilometers away at least 15 billboards can be found along a 600-meter road — peddling an eclectic mix of affordable suburban homes, the latest Bollywood movie and deals on domestic flights.

…All but two of a total 15 billboards were removed, minister Siddeshwara told parliament in reply to a lawmaker’s question today. The two billboards are under litigation, he said.”

What makes this worse is that Air India is the recipient of a Rs 300 billion ($4.6 billion) bailout from the central government.

The airline hasn’t posted a profit in eight years. It sold seven of its 16 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and leased them back.

And as if these woes weren’t enough, a rat was found on board a flight from Kolkota to Delhi, though the spokesman denied previous reports of “scores of rats,” found on board that flight.

(h/t @Mark Bergen)

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