UDAN scheme is using up flight slots at Mumbai airport: Officials
In order to decongest the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, authorities plan to shift all the non-scheduled and charter flight operations to Navi Mumbai after it becomes operationalUpdated: Mar 07, 2018 08:48 IST
UDAN, the union government’s scheme to connect smaller urban centres by air, has added to Mumbai airport’s problems, said officials.
According to Rajeev Jain, chief executive officer (CEO) of Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL), UDAN has reduced the efficiency of the city airport and is using up flight slots. In order to decongest the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), MIAL aims to shift all the non-scheduled and charter flight operations to Navi Mumbai after it becomes operational.
“UDAN has reduced the capacity of the airport, as smaller aircrafts occupy more runway vacating time, which leads to lowering the airport’s capacity. We have no slots left for UDAN flights. All the available slots have been allotted. A small aircraft typically used under UDAN takes one and a half minute more to vacate the runway, as compared to a regular narrow-body aircraft,” said Jain.
The ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) had sought twenty slots for the city airport under first phase of UDAN. However, owing to capacity constraints, the airport operator could give only eight of them.
A senior MIAL official said that the government should have planned the regional connectivity scheme in a better way. “All flights under UDAN are being connected to metro airports. According to the current situation, almost all metro city airports are nearing their saturation point. Even if few new terminals or runways are built, they will be enough for a few more years. The current difficulty in flight operations is going to be postponed for few years,” said the official.
MIAL also declared their plan to shift general aviation to Navi Mumbai airport once it is ready for use. “Instead of a small aircraft flying a handful of passengers, a narrow body aircraft (like Airbus A320) will fly many more passengers. Hence, in order to decongest CSIA, we plan to shift all non-scheduled and private charter operations to Navi Mumbai,” Jain said.
He added, “VIP movements for people travelling from South Mumbai will be better once the 21-km Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) gets open for commuters.” The MTHL will link Sewri in Mumbai to Uran (near the Navi Mumbai airport) across the Mumbai harbour.