Around 30% of the city-bound flights continue to arrive late a month after the aviation regulator ordered Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials to punish flight delays.
The rule, which came into effect on September 7, had seen airlines scramble to get their act together, but data recorded in the past two weeks suggests that the airlines are taking it easy again, and that ATC officials at Mumbai airport are going soft on them.
As per the rule, the ATC can divert any delayed flight spilling into the peak arrival slot of 9.15 pm to 11 pm to a neighbouring airport.
Data compiled by the Mumbai International Airport Limited between September 15 and October 5 shows that more than 25% of the total arrivals did not land on time. A week after the rule was enforced, 84% of the flights had been landing on time. Before the rule was implemented, on an average, 60% of the flights landed on time.
Airport sources said the arrival delays are because of a combination of factors: Runway repairs, ATC going soft on errant airlines and departure delays at other airports.
“We have identified 10 flights that have consistently failed to stick to their arrival slots. The problem will be sorted out by next week,” said MG Jhunghare, general manager, ATC (western region).
Flight departure schedules are also slipping. As of now 83% of the flights take off on time during morning peak hours; it was 91% in August, after the punishment for delayed departures – flights are sent to the back of the departure queue – came into effect in July.
Airport sources said it would be difficult to eliminate delays as several patches of the airfield are under repair. The MIAL has shut 340 metres on one end of the main runway to widen an underground drain. It plans to close the main runway for eight hours daily between November 1 and July 1.