Flight schedules at the two biggest airports in the country – Delhi and Mumbai – are expected to be impacted during the winters with the two airports closing runways for maintenance and repairs.
While Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport will have one of its three runways closed for preventive repairs for a 13-day period beginning November 15 , Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport will have both its runways closed for six hours a day on October 23 and on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays between February 7 and March 30. The closures are expected to impact 100 flights a day at Delhi airport and around 276 flights a day at Mumbai.
“DIAL (Delhi International Airport Ltd) is planning the closure of Runway 27/09 to carry out preventive repairs. The works are scheduled to be undertaken for 13 day duration starting from 15th November 2018. This will lower the capacity of IGI Airport by 50 arrivals and 50 departures per day in this duration. These works are essential for safe aircraft operations and to avoid sudden disruptions that causes greater impact due to time required for planning the logistics”, a DIAL spokesperson said.
A Mumbai airport spokesperson said that the maintenance work will be done at the intersection of the two runways rendering both the strips inoperable. The spokesperson added that airlines have been encouraged to bring in wide-body aircraft to accommodate the passenger traffic during operable hours. Among Indian carriers, only Air India and Jet Airways operate wide-body passenger aircraft. Airlines have said that to accommodate with the capacity crunch, they would reschedule, cancel or combine certain flights together.
An Air India source said that the airline has rescheduled its international flights during the inoperable hours at Mumbai, while none of its international flights are being affected at Delhi. For its domestic operations at Mumbai, 32 of its flights – including departures and arrivals – will be affected on October 23, while almost 700 flights will be impacted during the February-March closure at Mumbai. In Delhi, around 200 of Air India’s domestic departures and arrivals will be affected during the 13-day closure. A SpiceJet spokesperson said 15 of its flights will be affected during the Delhi closure, but the airline is yet to decide whether the flights will be cancelled or rescheduled. In Mumbai, the low-cost airline will see 20 of its arrivals and departures affected.
As per data sourced from Airports Authority of India, for the month of August, Mumbai airport handled 27,358 flight movements – departures and arrivals – averaging to 882 flights a day. Similarly, Delhi airport handled 39,691 flights during the month, averaging to 1,280 flights per day.
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