A new rapid exit taxiway (RET) constructed to speed up flight movement at the Mumbai airport will not open on the scheduled date on Thursday. On Wednesday, the airport operator delayed the operating date of the RET by at least a week as the aviation safety regulator has not cleared it for use.
“We are expecting the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) to give its clearance by July 5,” said a senior air traffic control official (ATC).
This is the second time the opening date of the taxiway has been revised. The RET (N5) was earlier scheduled to become operational by May 20 but the deadline was extended to June 28 to adhere to the Aeronautical Information Regulation and Control (AIRAC) cycle. Airports across the world have to follow this calendar to introduce crucial changes in the airfield infrastructure to give airlines enough time to brief pilots about the changes.
According to the 2012 AIRAC calendar the next date to introduce changes is July 26.
Airline officials have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new RET — the third on the main runway. “We are expecting the average runway occupancy time to go down by half if most pilots start using the N5,” said another senior ATC official. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had issued a directive saying that pilots must use N5 on priority after it gets operational.