Thane resident Raja Bakshi had opted for an 11:30am flight to Delhi on Saturday although flights to the capital earlier in the day were marginally cheaper.
His plan to avoid the ordeal of getting up early fell through, however, because the five hour (11:30 am to 4:30 am) closure of both the runways at the city airport on Saturday resulted in his flight getting re-scheduled to two hours before time.
“Although the airline informed us well in advance, I had to start the day early against my wish,” said the 45-year-old video graphic
artist with private studio in Andheri.
Even though fewer people travel over the weekend compared to weekdays, a significant number of travellers such as Bakshi were upset owing to the revision of flight timings caused by the runway closure. Approximately, 90 flights take off and land during the five hour slot.
Flight operations on the both the runways were suspended from 11:30am to 4:30pm for installation of lights on a new taxiway adjoining the area where the runways intersect to improve the airport’s efficiency.
No flights will take-off and land during this period on the next two Saturdays (March 3 and March 10).
While some passengers were keen to rebook themselves on evening flights, high airfares out of the city spoilt their plans. “Fares for evening flights to Bangalore were at least Rs 3,000 more than the price of the ticket on an earlier flight,” said Gopal Rijnani, who runs a chemist store in Ghatkopar.
“Since the closure was planned after consultation with the airlines, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India, no inconvenience was caused to passengers,” said a Mumbai International Airport Ltd spokesperson.