Mumbai airport sees rise in flight delays in January

  • Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 18, 2015 22:10 IST

The Mumbai airport’s punctuality report card for January was the worst compared to the preceding 11 months. Data from the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) showed that 34.5% of the flights shuttling in and out of the city airport missed their schedule last month.

The previous worse performance was in January 2014, wherein more than 4 out of ten scheduled arrivals and departures out of the city were delayed. Although the on-time performance of flights began improving from last February, delays began to creep in from December 2014, the data showed.

“Although January is one of the worse fog-affected months, this year saw few foggy days as compared to 2014. There seems to be severe lack of discipline among airline crew,” said a senior official with air traffic control (ATC) department in Mumbai requesting anonymity.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had asked airlines to roster only pilots trained to operate flights in poor visibility, but many flights were held up owing to unavailability of trained crew, added airport officials.

According to airport officials, the percentage of flight delays should have dropped after reduction of SpiceJet Airlines flights freed up some space on the airport’s ‘congested schedule’. “When SpiceJet reduced more than 100 flights from its daily schedule about 30 take-off and landing slots at Mumbai were freed up. That should have streamlined operations, but it did not,” said another ATC official requesting anonymity.

The budget carrier had curtailed its daily operations following a cash crunch last December.

The national carrier Air India had the most dismal on-time performance out of the Mumbai airport in January. More than half of its scheduled departures and arrivals were delayed, the MIAL report stated. Budget carrier GoAir recorded the second highest number of delayed operations with 38.5% of its flights missing the schedule, the report added.

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