Last month, about half of the SpiceJet flights scheduled from Mumbai were delayed and so were 59 per cent of SpiceJet flights arriving at the city airport. According to the On Time Performance report for the month of June at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), while SpiceJet had the maximum delays, Air India came a close second. Around 36 per cent of Air India’s departing flights were delayed and 40 per cent of its arriving flights were delayed in June.
In June, SpiceJet operated 521 flights from Mumbai, while Air India operated 1,248 departing flights. For both the airlines, a majority of the delays were due to “reactionary measures”, that comprise late boarding, crew rotation or unscheduled diversion of the flights. According to the report, of the 260 delayed flights departing from the airport, around 120 of them were delayed due to the airlines’ “reactionary factors”. In case of Air India, 181 of 455 flights were delayed for the same reason.
Besides reactionary measures, Air Traffic Control restrictions due to weather or staff shortage or equipment failure was the second biggest reason for delays in June, when the weather affected very few flights. On June 19, operations at CSIA were hit after a technical snag occurred in one of the radars and departures were severely hit. Out of the total 8,519 flights departing from Mumbai, because of ATC restrictions, 381 departing flights were delayed only 104 flights were delayed due to weather at Mumbai airport throughout the month.
However, SpiceJet blames the ATC congestion during the morning peak hours for its dismal OTP performance.
“All airlines were impacted and had a low OTP in June because of ATC congestion and infrastructure constraints at Mumbai airport. The congestion is massive between 9.45am to 11am and we took a major hit as almost 26 per cent of our departure from Mumbai airport is in that period. Six out of 19 SpiceJet flights in this period are transit flights so if incoming flights get congestion over Mumbai sky, it will have cascading effects on departure flights as well,” said Ajay Jasra, GM, Corporate Affairs at SpiceJet.
ATC officials, however, maintain that the delay is because of congestion due to airlines not operating as per schedule. “The ATC operates around 48 flights per hour so no delay can be attributed to the it, but instead to the congestion,” said Jayant Dasgupta, GM, Mumbai ATC.
In June, 32 per cent Go Air flights, 31 per cent Indigo flights and 28 per cent Jet Airways’ departing flights were delayed.