Punctuality of city-bound flights improved considerably a day after the aviation regulator threatened to divert late arrivals for adding congestion during peak incoming traffic period.
Air traffic control (ATC) rescheduled three city-bound flights at their respective airports of origin because they failed to take-off on time and were expected to reach the city aerospace during the peak arrival period between 9.30 pm and 11 pm.
At the same time the Mumbai ATC was soft of some delayed flights.
Contrary to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) rule that had warned airlines that such errant flights would be diverted to nearby airports such as Pune and Ahmedabad the ATC allowed them to land at the city airport after hovering mid-air for about 25 minutes.
“We need to give airlines some time to adjust to the rule. It is not fair to crucify them from day one,” said M.G Jhunghare, general manager, ATC, western regions.
The Mumbai airport operator, however, said that overall the rule is helping improve punctuality of arriving.
According to the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MAIL) spokesperson, on Tuesday evening 8 out of 10 flights scheduled to land in the city from 9.30 pm to 11 pm were on time. Before the rule came into effect only 60 per cent arrivals were on time,” added the spokesperson.
The new rule is the second step of a successful initiative that has helped the city airport nearly eliminate departure delays.
According to this rule that came into effect on July 19, the ATC sends 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. In a span of less than two months 91 per cent departures are on time.