Mumbai airport’s main runway shut: Flight operations face no shake up
Airport officials said no flight had to be held in the air before landing or had to be diverted due to congestion.Updated: Feb 02, 2018 23:33 IST
Despite the main runway of Mumbai airport being shut for seven hours, the airport officials have been able to limit traffic congestion and flight delays.
After flights were delayed for 40 minutes on Thursday night, airport officials said the situation improved on Friday with delays of around 10 minutes. During the shutdown period, flight operations are moved to the secondary runway which is shorter and requires more time for take-off and landings. The main runway is shut for upgradation of its instrument landing system.
The fact that afternoons see fewer flights compared to early mornings and evenings/nights also helped reduce delays. Officials said no flight had to be held in the air before landing or had to be diverted due to congestion. However, domestic flights, all of which land before midnight, continued to fly in till 1.20 am. An airport official said, “Flight operations are much lesser in afternoons compared to morning and evening/night. This helps avoid air congestion during the day.”
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials are also using Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM),a software that manages the flow of aircraft and gives exact take off time of an aircraft. An AAI official said, “The ATFM system is currently being used on trial basis. It helped avoid congestion at Mumbai airport, thereby reducing fuel burns. However, delays because of reduced capacity of secondary runway in day time could not be avoided.”
A Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL) official said, “Secondary runway is constantly in use when the main runway is shut. The airlines could be facing delays due to their respective aircraft taking off late from the destination airport.” The main runway is being shut from 10am to 5pm from February 1 to 17 except on February 7 and 14 to upgrade a component of ILS called ‘localiser’ for precision landing which will allow the aircraft to align itself to the centre of the runway.