Nearly 340 flights taking off and landing in the Mumbai airport in November were frequently delayed (delayed on 20% of the times they were operated) according to data released by the civil aviation ministry on Thursday.
The data shows that the number of such frequently delayed flights had fallen between July and September, it has increased since October (see box 1 for details). “Number of frequently delayed flights in November were the second highest in the last eight months. We have called for a meeting with airlines to address the issue,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official.
In April, the ministry had asked the city airport operator to draw up a list of consistently delayed flights to caution passengers about the flights they should avoid in order to discipline airlines.
Of the 337 flights featured in the delay list last month, 190 were city-bound flights while 147 flights were scheduled departures.
Airlines blamed “reactionary delays” for the problem. Reactionary delays comprise system error while checking-in passengers, waiting from crew to arrive from another flight and diversion of flights to another airport. “Ongoing construction work at the Mumbai airport and the air traffic congestion in the city have been a major challenge for us,” said a senior operations official with the private airline requesting anonymity.
Air India topped the list of maximum number of frequently delayed departures in the city since 43 flights operated by the national carrier featured in the November delay list. Among arrivals, 50 flights operated by Jet Airways and Air India each made it to the list.
Some flights in the list were delayed every time they were operated. For instance, AI 611 a daily Air India flight from Mumbai to Jaipur was delayed every day last month.
Similarly, Kingfisher Airlines flight IT 3142 from Bhuwaneshwar to Mumbai was delayed on 18 times out of the 19 occasions it was operated in November.