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DGCA to pull up airlines for causing congestion at airport

The country's aviation safety regulator on Wednesday said that it would pull up airlines for causing congestion at the Mumbai airport during the evening peak hours between 9.15 pm and 11.15 pm.

mumbai Updated: Aug 04, 2011 01:06 IST
Soubhik Mitra
Soubhik Mitra
Hindustan Times

The country's aviation safety regulator on Wednesday said that it would pull up airlines for causing congestion at the Mumbai airport during the evening peak hours between 9.15 pm and 11.15 pm.

The Hindustan Times had on Tuesday reported that hundreds of air passengers taking evening flights to Mumbai are facing delays because a significant number of flights are left circling above the airport as they are reaching the city before their scheduled time of arrival.

"We have warned airlines to stop this menace via email. We will address the issue in detail during the winter schedule slot distribution meeting," said Lalit Gupta, deputy director general with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The DGCA will meet airlines next week for the distribution of take-off and landing slots for the winter schedule (October 2011 to March 2012).

This is the second time this year that airlines have been found violating the regulator's flight schedule. In April, the DGCA had caught 70 city-bound flights that were taking-off early from their respective airports of origin and as a result reaching Mumbai before time.

More than half of these flights revised their departure timings following the DGCA crackdown but the problem has recurred again since last week.

Aviation experts said that the DGCA intervention would curb the menace because airlines cannot afford losing existing slots. "Losing existing slots would mean giving away a loyal customer base of frequent fliers," said a senior executive with the aviation consultancy firm.

Flights getting delayed for more than 20 % of the times they were operated in a month are also under the scanner since April. Ministry sources said that the distribution of take-off and landing slots would be done after combining the list of frequently-delayed flights and those arriving before time.

"Airlines featuring in both the lists are likely to lose their current slots," said a civil aviation ministry official.

First Published: Aug 04, 2011 01:03 IST