Main runway of Mumbai airport closed from Nov to Mar for 8 hours, 6 days a week
Flights may be delayed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) for five months — from November 1 to March 28 — as the main runway will be shut from Monday to Saturday, between 9.30am and 5.30pm.
While the Mumbai airport handles around 1,000 aircraft movements every day, the main runway handles around 50 flights every hour. During the closure of the runway (09-27), the secondary runway will be operational, with flights being rescheduled, merged or airlines operating fewer flights during the period.
The airport operator, Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL), said, “The Mumbai airport’s main runway will be undergoing major re-carpeting/ rehabilitation work. Owing to festivals and public holidays, the main runway will be operational (work will not be undertaken for re- carpeting works) on all Sundays, December 25, January 1, 2020, January 15, February 19 and 21, March 10 and March 25.”
Earlier this year, the airport had shut down operations between February 7 and March 30, between 11am to 5pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The airport had cut down 230 of its daily average of 950 flights.
While the planning ensured there were no major delays and inconvenience to passengers, fewer flights meant that fares on busy routes soared.
The Mumbai airport’s secondary runway, which cuts across the main one, is shorter and less wide, which makes it less efficient, not allowing it to handle an equal number of flight operations as the main runway. This leads to flight delays, when operations are switched to this runway.
During such closures, MIAL, along with airlines, change schedules, clubbing and operating fewer flights so that passengers are not stranded.
A GoAir spokesperson said they are currently working with MIAL on finalising an effective flight schedule for minimising the impact of runway closure on the passengers. The airline spokesperson said, “The airline currently operates 96 flights daily to/from Mumbai. GoAir may have to cancel a couple of flights owing to the runway closure. No sooner a final decision is taken, GoAir will inform all stakeholders, including customers.”
An official notification stated, “Major rehabilitation/re-carpeting is planned to address all cracked portions of the runway surface and portions of associated taxiways of the main runway by using conventional method of ‘hot-mix overlaying’, which will include milling of the top surface and overlaying it with bituminous materials in two layers. The work will also include re-carpeting of portion of taxiways, intersecting with the main runway up to runway holding position (RHP).’
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) said that because of repairs, there will be changes in operating procedures, including changes in isolated aircraft parking position – in case of perceived threats – and bomb threat contingency plan. Pilots have been advised to ensure extra attention when taxiing near the work areas.