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After 2 months of repairs, Mumbai airport to function normally from March 31

The airport announced on Thursday that 98% of the work is done and they will return to their regular schedule from March 31.

mumbai Updated: Mar 28, 2019 22:48 IST
Neha LM Tripathi
Neha LM Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai airport,MIAL,CSMIA
The Mumbai airport had to remove 230 flights from its daily schedule – of the average 950 it operates – on the 22 days when the work was carried out. (HT File)

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) will be fully operational from Sunday, almost two months after the repairs began, leading to operations being shut down for three days a week, for six hours.

The Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd. (MIAL), which manages the airport, said it has re-carpeted the top two layers (four inches thick) of the runway and the work is expected to last for 10 years. The last such major repair work was carried out in 2009-10, when the top layer of the intersection of the airport’s two runways was fixed. The airport announced on Thursday that 98% of the work is done and they will return to their regular schedule from March 31.

The airport had to remove 230 flights from its daily schedule – of the average 950 it operates – on the 22 days when the work was carried out. The closure on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays affected around 50,000 passengers daily, leading to a rise in airfares on busy routes such as Mumbai-Delhi and Mumbai-Bengaluru.

HT had reported that 33 flights on the Mumbai-Delhi corridor, which sees around 100 operations daily, were taken off the schedule. Also, the scheduled flights were pushed to morning and late night to avoid the 11am-5pm shutdown period, resulting in fares for early morning flights, which are usually cheaper, rising to around ₹9,500.

An Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said, “As a notice-to-pilots about the airport closure was issued, all airlines wanted their morning departing flights to take off from the airport before 11am. This led to heavy departing traffic.”

As part of the repairs, workers had to remove deposits of rubber left by aircraft tyres. An airport official said with every take-off and landing, a narrow body aircraft – Airbus – deposits 5kg of rubber from its tyres and a wide body aircraft – Boeing – deposits around 10kg of rubber. An A380 deposits 15kg of rubber. An airport official from the construction department of (MIAL) said that a water blasting machine is used to remove rubber deposits.

Sudhakar Reddy, president of Air Passengers Association of India (APAI), said, “Although the air fares now won’t come down much, passengers will get a variety of options, especially on major routes such Mumbai- Delhi.”

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 22:48 IST