The Mumbai air traffic control allowed five delayed city-bound flights to land at Mumbai airport violating the aviation regulators new rule that directed them to punish such errant flights.
According to the rule that came into effect on Tuesday night two Kingfisher flights, IT 3156, IT 314, Air India flight AI 131, Jetlite flight S2 380 and Goair flight G8 171, all scheduled to arrive in the city before 9:30 pm should have been either grounded at the their respective airports of origin or diverted to nearby airport such Ahmedabad and Pune.
But the Mumbai ATC made them to hover above the airport for about 25 minutes and allowed them to land.
M.G Jhunghare, general manager, air traffic control (ATC), western region, confirmed, “We have allowed three delayed flights to land.”
But airport sources told Hindustan Times that the ATC gave landing clearance to more flights that had missed their approved arrival slots.
Several flights were cancelled because of nationwide strike called by trade unions, as a result the violation of the rule on the first day of its implementation did not add to the congestion. Therefore most arriving flights touchdown on time.
The Civil Aviation Ministry introduced the rule to streamline arrivals at Mumbai, which is considered to be one of the worst congested airports.
Often flights schedule to land before 9.30 pm take off late from the airport of origin and add to the congested peak arrival hour traffic of 9.30 pm to 11pm.
Despite several attempts Alok Sinha, joint secretary, civil aviation ministry, who introduced the rule did not reply to phone calls or a text message.
The new rule was supposed to be on the heels of a two-month-old rule that punishes late departures. According to that rule the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has authorised the ATC to send a flight to the back of the departure queue if the pilot is not ready for take-off 15 minutes before its schedule departure time.