For third time, runway opening misses deadline | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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For third time, runway opening misses deadline

Flight delays continued as Mumbai airport’s secondary runway failed to take off yet again on Thursday.

mumbai Updated: Apr 09, 2010 01:15 IST
HT Correspondent

Flight delays continued as Mumbai airport’s secondary runway failed to take off yet again on Thursday.

After missing two deadlines, the runway that handled half of the departures every day before it shut for repairs last October, did not witness a single flight movement on Thursday.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) did not clear it for operations despite its safety department officials supervising the newly redone runway until late evening on Monday.

“We are expecting the operation clearance anytime now,” said a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson.
However, airport sources said that three to four procedures to test aircraft landing are yet to be done. “The surface inspection is over. But there are some more tests left to be done,” said a DGCA official, requesting anonymity.

The runway is crucial to cut down delays during the peak air travel season in summer. “We got the runway report late on Monday evening. We will take a call tomorrow,” DGCA chief Nasim Zaidi.

Though the airport operator passed the blame on slow paperwork for the delay, DGCA officials complained of little time for conducting the tests.

“Until Monday, trucks carrying construction material were occupying the runway. How are we supposed to complete the tests so early?” asked the DGCA official.

Till the time of going to press, the air traffic control did not issue the notice to airmen (NOTAM), a compulsory procedure to inform airlines about changes in airfield operations.

This is the third deadline missed by MIAL. The first deadline of January 31 was missed because construction workers did not have a blueprint of the underground cable network that supplies power to runway lights and other ground infrastructure.

Replacement of the 50-year-old maze of cables slowed the project. It again missed the revised deadline of March 11, because stone quarry owners went on a weeklong strike.