Mumbai: Runway maintenance to hit CSIA operations

Flights wait to take off at the Andheri East domestic airport as heavy rain continued to lash Mumbai on Wednesday. Vasant Prabhu *** Local Caption *** "Heavy rains cause congestion in the air and the flights waiting to take off at the Domestic Airport, Andheri East on Wednesday. Express Photo by Vasant Prabhu Mumbai, 11.06.08"

Airline operations at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai, will be affected in the coming days as the primary and the secondary runways will be shut for five hours on staggered days to carry out maintenance. More than 200 flights are likely to be cancelled on each day, amounting to 2,100 cancellations in all.

Starting Monday, the primary (9/27) and secondary (14/32 ) runways will remain shut for five hours between noon and 5 pm on November 3,7,10,14,17,21,24 and 28. While the runways were being shut alternately for a few hours from October 18, both will remain shut for surface work on the mentioned days.

“At least 40-45 flight operations are scheduled and managed at the primary runway every hour on any given day. On these days, we expect cancellation of at least 225 flights per day with both runways being unavailable for operation for five hours. As airlines were informed about this beforehand, they have scheduled their operations likewise,” said an official spokesperson from Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), which manages CSIA.

Speaking on closing operations during peak time, the spokesperson added, “As CSIA has cross runway operations, the work on the intersection requires both runways to remain closed for those days. With passenger growth evident at the airport in the coming year, it is the right time to take this action.”

While Jet Airways had announced changes in its schedule from October 31, Air India will announce a final plan soon. IndiGo had already informed its fliers change in services.

Several flighst have been delayed in the past few days owing to the ongoing work. “The flight delay is purely an impact of runway work at the airport. The delay in flights is not in control of the airlines,” said a spokesperson from Vistara airlines.

“Problems will occur if repair work is carried out at one portion of the runway. As the capacity of the secondary runway is limited, an advanced notice was given to the airlines to manage their operations accordingly. As far as closing of both runways is concerned, the airport has accordingly made the slots to airlines on the running hours,” said Rajiv Saxena, General Manager, Air Traffic Control (ATC).