Airport could handle 60% more flights | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Airport could handle 60% more flights

The city's airport could soon improve its flight handling capacity by 60%. But this can happen only if the recommendations made by the UK-based consultant appointed to study the airport's efficiency are accepted.

mumbai Updated: May 12, 2011 01:29 IST
Soubhik Mitra

The city's airport could soon improve its flight handling capacity by 60%. But this can happen only if the recommendations made by the UK-based consultant appointed to study the airport's efficiency are accepted.

Last week, NATS, which was appointed as a consultant by the Mumbai International Airport Ltd in January, submitted a preliminary report with two solutions to the civil aviation ministry. "The presentation appears to be feasible. We are waiting for the final report," said Alok Sinha, joint secretary with the civil aviation ministry.

The consultant’s main suggestion is to reduce the distance between the flights in the landing queue. Presently, the air traffic control officials maintain a distance of seven nautical miles between flights hovering above the airport to land.

The NATS presentation also stated that presently flights take too long to vacate the runway after landing and the runway occupancy time needs to be cut down. “The airport can increase its flight handling capacity from 30 flight movements (take-offs and landings) per hour to 48 movements an hour, as per the presentation," said a senior official with the Airports Authority of India, on condition of anonymity.

An increase in the number of daily flights would translate into availability of more passenger seats and could indirectly make air tickets cheaper.

Last November, the reduction in 12 flight movement slots daily was one of the reasons behind the sharp rise in airfares. The civil aviation ministry had reduced the slots owing to repair of the airport's main runway forcing its closure for eight hours daily, except Sundays since October 2010.

The Mumbai airport operator had hired NATS for the job because it was successful in turning around Gatwick, London's second busiest airport's capacity despite infrastructural constraints similar to Mumbai airport.

Gatwick handles nearly double the number of take-offs and landings per hour with a single runway as compared to Mumbai airport, which has two runways.

The company also provides technical assistance to top-notch British airports such as Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.