Take off on time or make way for the next flight: Mumbai ATC

  • Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 26, 2014 22:23 IST

The Mumbai air traffic control (ATC) department plans to tighten the noose on pilots failing to clear the runway in time. The move is aimed at reducing the time taken by each flight to free the runway for the subsequent flight.

According to a directive issued by the ATC on Friday, flights unable to take off as per schedule will be asked to clear the path for the subsequent take off or landing. “If the controller observes a delay in the aircraft commencing take off run after the issuance of take off clearance, the clearance will be cancelled and the aircraft shall be instructed to vacate the runway immediately at the nearest taxiway to make way for the subsequent arrival or departure,” read the order.

The directive that specified a detailed chart of high-speed runway exits to be used, taxing speeds and dedicated radio frequency for arriving jets will come into effect from February 5.

”The aim is to bring down the time taken by each flight in freeing the runway. If airlines stick to the directive, we can not only cut down delays, but also accommodate more flights,” said a senior ATC official, requesting anonymity.

Currently, airplanes flying in and out of the city airport are expected to free the runway in 49 seconds after receiving landing or take off approvals from the ATC.

Mumbai airport punctuality record dismal

The directive assumes importance in the light of Mumbai airport’s dismal punctuality record over the past two months.

Four of the country’s five domestic airlines were the least punctual among flights operating out of the Mumbai airport in October and November, according to data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Among the four metro airports, Bangalore had the best record with more than 88% flights taking off and landing on time, while Mumbai’s record was a dismal 81.5%. Delhi – the country’s busiest airport – had almost 85% of its flights operating on time.

“Airlines have been spending thousands on passengers’ compensation against flight delays every month. They will follow the new circular seriously,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official.

Precautions for pilots
• Pilots have been advised to complete all the mandatory pre-departure checks and cabin procedures before entering the active runway space for take off

• Pilots should not stop at high-speed runway exits after touchdown unless they get any specific instructions from the ATC

• The ATC should be immediately alerted if a pilot misses the prescribed runway exit.

Prescribed speed limits
* Aircraft have to maintain a taxiing speed of
* 15 knots on the straight portion of taxiways
* Between 8 and 12 knots on bends of taxiways

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