Airport authorities, on Tuesday, shut the city’s main runway for about 40 minutes, after a portion of its surface chipped off because of lack of routine maintenance.
However, this did not affect flight movements barring a few delays because the secondary runway was in use.
At around 3.19 pm, during routine runway inspection, the staff found the surface of a patch, connecting the main runway and N8 — a rapid exit taxiway — had come off.
The stretch is under constant wear and tear because most arriving flights use this taxiway to vacate the runway. Air Traffic Control was alerted, who then ordered the unscheduled closure.
Airport officials said the drop in visibility because of heavy rains is the reason why routine weekly runway maintenance hasn’t been conducted.
During the monsoons, the staff requires 22 days to ensure regular maintenance of the runways. The airport shuts both the runways for two hours every on Tuesday and Friday.
This monsoon however, the staff has been able to shut the runways only for 12 days.
“This monsoon, the smaller runway has been unusable because of visibility restriction. As a result, we could not shut the main runway for maintenance,” said a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson.
MIAL wants to the shut main runway for major overhaul from September. According to their proposal, which is waiting approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the main runway will be closed from 9 am to 6 pm every day for a few months so that it is available during peak hours.