MORE THAN 50 per cent of Air India (AI) flights at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai were delayed in December, reveals the on time performance (OTP) report released by the airport. This is the worst OTP record clocked by the national carrier in the past six months.
While 45 per cent of flights flying in and out of the airport were delayed in December, 65 per cent of arrivals and 50 per cent of departures of AI flights were delayed in the month, data indicates. Of 1,330 departures of AI from CSIA, 690 flights were delayed while 863 flights remained behind schedule out of a total of 1,323 arrivals by the airlines.
Runway closure and fog-induced disruptions were cited to be the probable causes of the delay.
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“December was marked by maximum runway closures. Thus, operations of a carrier such as Air India which sees maximum flight services in a day could have been hit. The airport also sees the most congested operation of 10 flights in an hour,” said Rajiv Saxena, General Manager, Air Traffic Control (ATC).
“Mumbai airport is a victim to almost 45 per cent added congestion besides the smooth operation of flights in the city. If the congestion is reduced, OTP performance, not just for Air India but for other airlines also, will simultaneously improve,” said an official spokesperson from Air India.
This comes after data by Flightstats, a global flight tracker, put AI as the third worst international airline in the world in terms of on-time performance. While the airline denied the claim, it said the airline manages to keep up with its on time performance despite running operations to parts of the country with infrastructural constraints.
“AI is a network carrier which connects 69 destinations in India and 41 destinations abroad through its hub in Delhi. The OTP of AI ranks at par with its competitors in the domestic sector taking into consideration the fact that Air India operates in every corner where there are infrastructural constraints like sunset limitations and weather conditions affecting schedules,” stated the letter written by AI to Flightstats.
After AI, IndiGo suffered the most delays at CSIA with 50 per cent of departure delays and 38 per cent of arrival delays.The previous worse was in July 2016 when just over 40 per cent flights at the country’s second busiest airport were late.