Updated March 1st, 2024 at 11:06 IST

Mumbai Airport Traffic Situation Improved, Delays Reduced: Aviation Ministry

During the High Intensity Runway Operations (HIRO), the single runway can handle 46 aircraft movements – arrival and departure – at the peak hour.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Mumbai Airport Traffic Congestion Woes Reduced: Aviation Ministry | Image:PTI
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Mumbai: The air traffic situation at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai has improved and delays in flight arrivals have also been reduced, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said. The Mumbai Airport had been grappling with air traffic congestion which had prompted the Ministry to impose restrictions on airlines. To tackle the issue, several airlines were earlier cancelling about 40 flights per day.

The Mumbai Airport is one of the busiest airports in the country. "Aircraft operating earlier than the approved slot (marked as before schedule in the data) lead to congestion and delay for other aircraft adhering to the schedule, which in turn will have a cascading effect on the other schedule movements. These movements were also targeted for improvements and airlines asked to adhere to the allotted slots," the statement said.

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According to the data shared by the Ministry on comparison of air traffic trends for flight arrivals between November 11 and December 10, 2023, and February 16- 24, 2024,  there were 14,476 and 4,337 arrivals at the airport, respectively. Out of the 4,337 arrivals, no flight faced a delay of more than an hour while 178 planes were delayed for 30-60 minutes. Whereas during the November 11- December 10, 2023 period, as many as 1,641 aircraft were delayed for over an hour, 2,141 planes for 30-60 minutes, 2,083 aircraft for 15-30 minutes, and 3,632 planes for 0-15 minutes.

Single runway operations

At the airport, only one runway can be operated upon at a time given that two runways intersect at a point. During the High Intensity Runway Operations (HIRO), the single runway can handle 46 aircraft movements – arrival and departure –  at the peak hour. Whereas during the non-HIRO period, the hourly aircraft movement capacity is 44.

To tackle the issue of air traffic congestion, the ministry had on January 2, directed Mumbai airport operator MIAL and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to restrict non-scheduled flights for certain time periods.

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In its later order on February 15, the Ministry had instructed reducing aircraft movements from 46 to 44 per hour during HIRO period, and to 42 from 44 during non-HIRO period. The ministry said MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Ltd) in coordination with airlines has implemented the directions effective since February 20.

"All the domestic airline operators were also advised to strictly adhere to the slots allocated by MIAL to avoid air congestion," it added. 

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Major factors behind congestion
 

Following the directions, airlines have also reduced the number of flights operated to and from the Mumbai airport. Following the challenges faced by the Mumbai airport, the Airport Authority of India conducted an analysis and found the major factors leading to the disruptions at the flight operations. Some of the major factors include excessive slot distribution with limited time margins, non-adherence to allotted slots by airlines, and non-scheduled operations of flights during peak hours.
 

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Published March 1st, 2024 at 11:01 IST