From Thursday, Mumbai airport will function at full throttle with the secondary runway back in operation.
After missing two earlier deadlines, flights will start rolling on the airport’s secondary runway, which was shut for more than six months for repairs.
This will cut down delays for air passengers.
Construction work has been completed. The secondary runway will be cleared for use once the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) finishes the calibration of the Instrument Landing System (ILS),” said a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson. The ILS is an automated system that helps the pilots land during low visibility conditions.
The 9,596-ft-long runway used to handle 150 departures every day before its closure in October. Until now, aircraft parked close to the secondary runway had to taxi a long way to take-off from the main runway.
“We will save enormous amount of taxiing time,” said an airport official requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The flight delay was compounded on 22 Tuesdays when the main runway was partially closed for repairs for six hours, starting October 27. The partial closures on Tuesdays ended on March 23.
With both runways operational, airlines expect to improve their on-time performance record that went disarray from October.
“Passengers fail to understand the pressure of operating on an under-construction airfield,” said a senior operation official working with a private carrier, requesting anonymity.
MIAL, the airport operator, missed two deadlines to complete the key project of carrying out repairs.
It missed the first deadline of January 31 because construction workers did not have a blueprint of the underground cable network that supplies power to runway lights
and other ground infrastructure. Replacement of the 50-year-old maze of cables slowed the project.
It again missed the revised deadline of March 11 because stone quarry owners went on a weeklong strike.
The repair also led to a few glitches when runway workers dug up runway cables causing an electricity blackout on the runway and a crash of the airlines’ check-in system.