Space crunch closes Mumbai to fresh international flights | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Space crunch closes Mumbai to fresh international flights

The government has stopped giving permission for fresh international flights to and from the Mumbai airport, owing to an acute shortage of space at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport.

delhi Updated: Aug 25, 2010 01:48 IST
HT Correspondent

The government has stopped giving permission for fresh international flights to and from the Mumbai airport, owing to an acute shortage of space at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport.

Requests from countries for allotting more seats under existing bilateral agreements are also being turned down, the latest one being from Malaysia.

“Mumbai airport has reached a saturation point. There is absolutely no space — both on the ground and in the air. We had no option but to turn down requests to increase frequency of flights and fresh international flights to Mumbai,” a source said.

The only slot available at the Mumbai airport, sources said, were in the wee hours of the day, which no airline was interested in picking-up.

“The Mumbai airport has a single runway operation. The cross-runway can only be used during the daytime. Around 16-hours-a-day, there is absolutely no space. Another 2-3 hours are needed for maintenance,” said civil aviation minister Praful Patel, whose ministry has been pushing for a new airport in Navi Mumbai.

“I cannot say anything. This is something that is beyond my ministry’s control. A new airport should have come-up in Navi Mumbai five years back. Even if we start work on a new airport now it would take another five years for it to come up,” he said, when asked if there was a solution to the problems being faced at the Mumbai airport.