There was chaos at the city airport on Thursday evening as several passengers flying in and out of Mumbai had to face delays due to a combination of factors that disrupted the air traffic schedule.
According to a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson, average delay during the morning was around 30 minutes for arrivals and 26 minutes for departures as the main runway was shut for eight hours for repair work.
“Most flights were stuck in long queues on ground and in mid-air,” said an airport official.
The situation worsened around evening. In addition to the morning backlog, many incoming flights were delayed by more than an hour because of technical snags reported at the airports of origin.
Till 7.30pm, display screens at the domestic terminal 1B (all domestic carriers except Kingfisher Airlines and Air India use the terminal) showed that most flights were rescheduled.
Passengers of a GoAir flight to Bangalore, which was scheduled to leave by noon, were informed that the flight was rescheduled by two hours. The flight finally took off at 7pm. Another flight operated by the budget carrier to Kochi was rescheduled by three hours.
“I might miss my connecting flight to Thiruvananthapuram and get stranded at the Kochi airport in the dead of the night,” said Neha Dara, a passenger of GoAir flight to Kochi.
Also, at least six Jet Airways flights were running behind scheduled. “Two incoming flights were delayed as they aborted take-off at their airports of origin because of a technical snag. By the time they reached Mumbai skies, the aerospace was choc-a-bloc,” said a senior airport manager, who did not wish to be named.
Despite several attempts MG Jhunghare, general manager, air traffic control, western region, was not available for comment.
The situation is likely to worsen further for Mumbai fliers as the winter sets in. Foggy days could paralyse flight movements, as the secondary runway is unequipped with technology necessary for operating during low visibility.