No flights will take off and land at the Mumbai airport for five hours between 11.30am and 4.30 pm on Saturday due to runway augmentation work. Both runways at the city airport will also be closed for five hours on the following two Saturdays — March 3 and 10.
Passengers, who need to fly out or into the city on an emergency basis, could use the Pune airport (about 160km from Mumbai) on the three Saturdays.
During the closure, airport workers will install guide lights, to help pilots exit the runway, along the rapid exit taxiway.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) three months ago to inform them about the closure of the area, where the two runways at the airport intersect. “As the NOTAM was issued well in advance, no flights were scheduled during this period,” said a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson. The slot between 11:30am and 4:30pm was selected for the closure because it is a non-peak hour period, said the spokesperson.
Since January 20, the airport’s main runway is shut for eight hours (between 9am and 5pm) every day till May 20 for the construction of a new rapid exit taxiway to improve the runway's efficiency. “All the ongoing construction work is part of a long-term project to enhance runway efficiency,” said the MIAL spokesperson.