Inconvenience caused by air traffic congestion has prompted the Bombay High Court to pull up the Mumbai International Airports Ltd (MIAL).
“The company operating the airport is collecting surcharge from passengers and therefore is bound to provide facilities,” said a division bench of Justice F I Rebello and Justice J H Bhatia referring to MIAL, which is operating the city airport.
“Congestion is a reality of life in Mumbai and you cannot run away from it,” the court observed on Thursday while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking remedial measures on congested air traffic at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
Resources of Aviation Redressal Association filed the PIL raising the issue of “inordinate and alarming level of air traffic congestion at city airport.” The PIL alleges that policies adopted by MIAL have minimised and jeopardised passenger safety.
The organisation alleged that inappropriate time slot allotment to airlines led to congestion in air traffic during peak hours. Counsel for Airports Authority of India, Girish Kulkarni, said the congestion was the result of airlines seeking time slots between 8 pm and 12 pm, considered ‘prime time’ in aviation.
The counsel for MIAL refuted the charges saying that the company had nothing to do with the allotment of slots to airlines.
He pointed out that the DGCA was the authority concerned with air traffic control. This prompted the judges to order DGCA to file an affidavit within three weeks.
Justice Rebello told the lawyers that airlines were flouting safety norms by providing parachutes only to passengers travelling in first class.