Rains, ill-prepared airlines cause rise in flight delays

The number of flights that frequently missed their scheduled take off and touchdown times at Mumbai soared significantly in June, after hitting an all time low in April.

According to data from the civil aviation ministry, in June, 272 flights were delayed frequently (over 20% of the times they were operated in a month) — up from 133 flights in April.

Compared with April, in May, the airport witnessed only a marginal increase in the number of frequently delayed flights (167 flights).
Ministry sources blamed frequent delays on heavy monsoons and lack of preparedness by airlines.

“While poor weather has been the primary factor for such frequent disruptions in schedule, the lack of preparedness by airlines cannot be ruled out,” said a senior ministry official, requesting anonymity.

The official added that, at a meeting in May, all airport stakeholders had been asked to prepare for monsoon delays.

The ministry had asked the Mumbai airport operator to prepare a list of frequently delayed flights every month so that air passengers are notified of which flights to avoid. The list would also help discipline airlines.

While frequently delayed arrivals are often high, in June, the number of delayed departures is also at par, according to the data.

Of the 272 flights delayed on more than one out of the five times they were operated, 135 were departures (nearly 50%).

“Arrival delays are mostly a result of multiple factors that are beyond the contro of an airline, such as delay at the airport of origin, air congestion etc. But departure delays reflect poor discipline,” said an air traffic control official at Mumbai requesting anonymity.

Jet Airways and its no fril subsidiary Jetlite were collectively on the top of the chart for operating the highest number of frequently-delayed departures, with 46 of its flights named in the delay list. The airline also had the highest number of consistently- delayed arrivals.


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