Flights flying into the city began using the airport's secondary runway on Tuesday after a nod from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Until now, the secondary runway was used only for departures because the regulator was not content with the ground infrastructure after it reopened on April 8.
“Till 5 pm, 34 flights landed on the secondary runway,” said a spokesperson of the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), which maintains the airport.
Until Tuesday, all incoming flights to the city landed on the main runway.
On April 8, the DGCA had found faults with the antenna on the secondary runway used by pilots to get the correct angle to land. Subsequently, the regulator told MIAL to get it fixed within a week. However, the airport operator missed the deadline. The Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials expect that the landing clearance for the secondary runway will help them ease congestion above the airport.
“It opens up another option, so we hope to cut down the circling time above the airport by 10 minutes,” said an ATC official, requesting anonymity.
Before getting the clearance for arrivals, the secondary runway was used for at least 150 departures every day.
Earlier this month, the Delhi airport beat Mumbai as the busiest airport in the country and repair work at both the runways of the city airport is one of the main reasons. Flight movement in Mumbai was affected because the main runway was partially shut for 22 Tuesdays until last month.
The secondary runway too was shut for more than six months. According to civil aviation ministry records, the Delhi airport handled 2.525 crore flyers against 2.480 crore flyers at Mumbai in 2009.