The extra time taken by airplanes to vacate the runaway is one of the reasons behind the delays at Mumbai airport, stated a report by civil aviation ministry presented in a review meeting on delays held earlier this month.
According to the minutes of the meeting (a copy of which is with HT), flights have been missing the designated taxiway and thus occupying the runway for more time than needed leading to congestion. As the main runway is shut from 9am to 5pm daily, except on Sunday, owing to the repair work since October, the dependence has been mainly on the smaller runway.
The air traffic control (ATC) officials told the ministry that flights landing on the secondary runway should ideally use taxiway E3 to leave the runway. The minutes of the meeting stated: “Most flights skip E3 and use taxiway E1 which is further down the runway. As a result they take longer to vacate the runway.”
Last year, 90% flights were operated on time. In contrast, this year only 68% of the city-bound flights land on time and 77% flights leave Mumbai as per the schedule.
At the meeting, the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) representative, said that the use of secondary runway to backtrack and line up for take-off by the international flights was one of the reasons behind the delays. The representative added that operations on the runway are occasionally blocked by domestic flights trying to reach their respective parking stands.
Also, the arrival of some flights earlier than the schedule has been adding to the airport’s congestion. Airlines have been showing their travel time in excess of the actual travel time between two cities. The ministry is now correcting airline manipulations in flight schedules.