Charters, Udan flights choking Mumbai airport; MIAL may shift general aviation to Navi Mumbai once the airport is ready
The slot-constrained Mumbai airport is looking at ways of reducing delays and increasing flight movements that have been restricted due to Udan and general aviation (private and charter planes) flights.
Mumbai airport, the busiest single runway airport in the world, was on Tuesday awarded the world’s best airport (40 million plus passenger category) by Airports Council International for service quality.
The recognition is based on passenger feedback on 34 points such as airport access, check-in and security.
However, capacity constraints have resulted in non-availability of slots and increased flight delays.
The airport handles around 970-980 flights daily.
Mumbai International Airport chief executive officer Rajeev Jain said the airport was in discussions with the UK-based NATS and a German consultant to devise measures to increase capacity and reduce delays.
The consultant would be finalised in a month, he said.
Jain said general aviation and Udan flights were reducing Mumbai airport’s capacity to handle more flights.
These flights carried 19-20 passengers and occupied runway longer, he added.
The airport has provided eight slots to airlines, including Air India, Air Deccan and SpiceJet, for the government's regional connectivity scheme.
Jain said the airport had no further slots for Udan flights and airlines could use their existing slots in Mumbai for Udan flights.
Jain said the airport would also think of shifting general aviation flights to Navi Mumbai airport once it became operational.
This will enable it to handle more scheduled airline flights.
Jain said Mumbai airport's flight-handling capacity had increased to 46-48 movements per hour because of the construction of rapid exit taxiways and better air traffic procedures.
He blamed airlines for manipulating block hours and fog in Delhi for delays.
Block time refers to the time from the moment an aircraft door closes at departure of a flight until its door opens at the arrival gate following its landing.
Photograph: Arko Datta/Reuters