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Mumbai air traffic returning to normal

Visibility and gusty winds still hamper smooth functioning, Praful Patel said.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, New Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 01, 2005 09:40 PM IST

Air traffic movement at Mumbai's Chhattrapati Shivaji Airport was returning to normal though the visibility and gusty winds still continued to hamper its smooth functioning, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said in New Delhi on Monday.

"Mumbai airport gradually returned to normal and will operate at 65 per cent capacity by night. The airport is fully functional though visibility and gusty wind conditions are hampering safety conditions," Patel told reporters.

He, however, asked the passengers to avoid flying to Mumbai "until it's an absolute emergency."

"Yesterday 224 flight movements were carried out and today 241 carried out till 1600 hrs. Only nine flights have been diverted which includes five international and four domestic," the minister said.

Normally, Mumbai airport handles nearly 500 flights in a 24 hours circle.

Barring a few, most of the international carriers were operating to and from Mumbai.

"I have also requested domestic airlines to curtail their flights primarily to give space to air traffic control to handle traffic in very inclement weather," he said.

Minimum visibility required under CAT-II Instrument of Landing System is 800 metres.

M K Ghoshal, general secretary, Airport Authority Employees Union, complimented employees and management of AAI and said natural calamities could only be fought when the entire infrastructure and facilities are owned and operated by the government.

He said the government, which proposes to privatise Mumbai and Delhi airports, should not go ahead with the move and said that the privatisation of runways and aprons should never be allowed in the interest of the nation.

"Our employees and trade unions have been working non-stop for 36 hours to restore normalcy as well as repairing damages caused to equipment and structure by the rains."

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