The new rule to punish late arrivals at the city airport has made no difference in flight punctuality but the civil aviation ministry claimed that the rule is helping them cut down congestion. Forty per cent flights scheduled to land in the city during peak arrival hours, between 9pm and 11pm, on Wednesday were late.
The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) said that the on-time performance of flights before the rule came into effect was the same on Wednesday.
Flight punctuality marginally improved on Tuesday with 79 per cent flights arriving on time, but airport sources said that was possible as there were some empty arrival slots because of cancellations due to the nationwide trade union strike.
Most of these flights were delayed by about 20 minutes. Maushumi Chakravarthy, spokesperson with the civil aviation ministry, said most of these delays could be because many airports have enforced the aviation regulators rule to penalise delayed departures.
According to the rule, which was first implemented at the Mumbai airport on July 19, the air traffic control official send a flight to the back of the departure queue if the pilot is not ready for take-off at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time of departure.
"The delays are not because there are too many flights jostling mid-air to land. The rule has cut down the congestion above Mumbai," said Chakravarthy. Before the rule came into effect too many flights choked the city aerospace during the arrival peak making it difficult for air traffic managers.
In a span of less than two months, 91 per cent departures from the city are on schedule as compared to more than half the scheduled departures running behind schedule before the rule was enforced.