The number of flights getting frequently delayed (late 20% of the times they were operated in a month) at the Mumbai airport in February marginally dipped compared to the last two months but was still much higher than the monthly average, according to data released by the civil aviation ministry on Friday.
"Earlier, a flight was delayed every time it was operated in a month. That has become negligible recently," said a senior operational official with a private carrier.
The data, commissioned by the ministry to discipline airlines and caution fliers about carriers they should avoid, is still staggering. In February, 347 flights flying in and out of the city were delayed on one out of the five times they were operated. Of city-bound flights, 205 repeatedly missed their scheduled time of arrival.
"Although fog did not cause much disruption to flights last month, the runway end being used for arrivals witnessed heavy tail winds [winds pushing an aircraft from behind], which could be responsible for the higher number of frequent delays," said an airport official requesting anonymity.
Jet Airways and its low cost subsidiary operated the highest number of frequently delayed departures: 44 of their flights made the list of flights delayed. The carrier also topped the chart of consistently delayed arrivals, with more than 80 of their city-bound flights regularly late.
Airport officials added that such delays are likely to reduce during the summer months, because the weather during this period of the year poses fewer problems for flight operations.