The number of frequently delayed flights (flights getting delayed on 20% of the times they were operated), taking off and landing at Mumbai airport, increased dramatically in January making it worst month in the last ten months.
According to a list featuring frequently delayed flights released by the civil aviation ministry on Tuesday, 390 flights in January consistently missed their schedule, way above the monthly average of 325 flights.
In April 2010, the ministry had asked the Mumbai airport operator to draw up such a list to caution passengers about the flights they should avoid and to discipline airlines.
However, according to the ministry’s data, airlines showed improvement in the first few months but their performances has worsened in the past five months. The number of frequently delayed flights has been steadily increasing since last August. From 305 frequently delayed flights featuring in the August list, the number reached 390 last month.
“The issue is getting ignored owing to shuffling of senior officials in the ministry. We will take up the issue in a review meet in March,” said a senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official, requesting anonymity.
Airline officials said that frequent fog delays and the on-going construction work at the Mumbai airport were responsible for the delays in January. “If you study the January list, majority of delays are arrival delays. Hundreds of flights coming from Delhi and other north Indian airports were delayed owing to fog last month,” said a senior official with a private airline, requesting anonymity.
With the fog season almost over, airlines hope for a better performance this month.
In January, Jet Airways topped the list of frequently delayed arrivals with 62 of its flights featuring on the list. The national carrier Air India operated the highest number of frequently delayed departures with 47 flights making it to the list last month.