The Mumbai airport claimed that although it had eliminated delays in departures, arrivals continued to run late because the aviation regulator had failed to ensure other airports were penalising delays according to its new rule.
As a result, it claimed that city-bound flights continued to land 40 to 45 minutes behind schedule. Following the Directorate General of Civil Aviation's rule, starting at 5 am on Monday, the air traffic control began sending flights that were not ready to take off on schedule to the back of the queue.
"Unless other busy airports such as Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata, implement the rule, we cannot reduce delays in arrivals," said a spokesperson for Mumbai International Airport Limited.
Mumbai’s air traffic control staff also said that too many flights had to circle above the airport waiting to land because flights from other airports were not arriving on time.
From Wednesday onwards, Kingfisher Airlines and Indigo said they began closing their check-in counters 40 minutes, instead of the earlier 30 minutes, before their departure times at the other airports, as the regulator had directed to ensure.
Spokespersons for the Delhi and Bangalore airports said that regulator had not asked them to penalise delays.
Nasim Zaidi, the regulator's chief, did not reply to a text message in which Hindustan Times asked him why the regulator was not enforcing the rule at other airports.