It could be as bad today: Airlines don't have a plan to end delays | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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It could be as bad today: Airlines don't have a plan to end delays

Despite marathon meetings, airlines were not clear on how to prevent a repeat of Monday's mess at Mumbai airport. Over 60 flights were delayed by at least an hour, held back because the pilots were not ready in time for take-off.

mumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2010 00:48 IST
Soubhik Mitra

Despite marathon meetings, airlines were not clear on how to prevent a repeat of Monday's mess at Mumbai airport. Over 60 flights were delayed by at least an hour, held back because the pilots were not ready in time for take-off.

A new Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) circular warned pilots to be ready 15 minutes before departure, failing which the flight would be slotted last in the take-off queue.

Only Jet Airways said it would comply with the new rule from Tuesday.

"We are informing our guests and frequent fliers about the rules," said a Jet spokesperson but did not explain how the airline plans to do it. "We will try our best to minimise inconvenience."

Other domestic carriers did not respond officially to Hindustan Times’ queries on how they plan to improve the situation on Tuesday.

In fact, there was a hint of defiance.

"We are not sure if we want to comply with the circular. Our operations team is working on an alternative strategy," said a senior Kingfisher official requesting anonymity.

Airlines also called for an emergency meeting with all airport stakeholders to discuss the issue, but could not reach a consensus because the Air Traffic Control (ATC) representative stayed away.

M.G. Jhungare, ATC general manager, told Hindustan Times that some international airlines were happy with the move.

Airlines blamed the airport infrastructure for the problems. "Some parking bays are very far from the tarmac. That’s why boarding takes longer," said an Air India official requesting anonymity. Also, he said, taxiing time increases because some taxiways are shut for maintenance.

"We do not have enough aerobridges either. Maintenance work at the airfield increases the time taken by the coach to ferry passengers from terminal to aircraft," said the official.