Flight operations at the Mumbai airport came to a halt for 20 minutes on Tuesday noon after a small portion of the main runway’s surface chipped off due to lack of maintenance.
The airport operator said it was unable to conduct routine weekly maintenance of the runway in the past two weeks because of heavy rains and low visibility. Usually, the airport shuts both the runways for two hours on Tuesdays and Fridays for routine maintenance.
“The airfield staff was quick in restoring the broken runway surface,” said a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson.
The air traffic control (ATC) diverted a Kingfisher flight from Delhi to Ahmedabad after the flight had circled above the airport for 15 minutes.
According to ATC sources, from 12:40 pm to 1 pm when the runway was shut, about 10 flights were circling above the city. ATC sources said the portion of the runway surface that came off is located between two crucial taxiways called, November 7 and November 8.
“It’s the patch that handles maximum wear and tear because most flights use it to vacate the runway,” said an ATC official requesting anonymity.
MIAL is planning to shut the main runway for long-term repairs in September.
According to a proposal submitted with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the airport wants to shut main runway from 9 am to 6 pm, so that it is available for operations during morning and evening peak hours.
For the rest of the day the smaller runway would be used for all operations.