Ten passenger flights scheduled to land in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon were diverted to other nearby airports such as Baroda and Ahmedabad owing to poor runway visibility.
Two more city-bound flights were forced to abort touchdown at the last moment, as pilots were unable to see the runway.
The disruption lasted two hours and resulted in major flight delays later in the evening, said airport officials.
“Normally we witness fluctuating visibility in small spells. But on Tuesday, all the diversions and go- arounds took place within a span of two hours,” said a senior air- traffic control (ATC) official requesting anonymity.
Passengers booked to travel on city-bound Jet Airways and Jetlite flights were worstaffected as the domestic carriers collectively operated half the diverted flights.
Two flights each operated by low- cost carriers Indigo Airlines and GoAir were also diverted to Baroda and Ahmedabad.
Airport officials added that passengers on board each of the diverted flights were held up at alien airports for four to five hours.
“Since the peak arrivals hour starts by 6pm, we find it difficult to accommodate flights that were diverted earlier,” said another ATC official.
Officials also said that around 15 aircraft were circling above the airport during afternoon which is considered a non-peak period.
The cascading effect of delays also reflected inside the terminals as passengers were stuck in long check-in queues.
“Since some of the flights diverted were operating on non-busy routes such as Calicut-Mumbai and so passenger boarding was slowed down,” said an airport official.