In total, the impact will be for nine days in November in the second phase of closure. Notably, the second busiest airport in the country, Mumbai International Airport has only one runway (as one-third of the airport land is occupied by slum squatters), yet it manages around 50 flights during peak hours, making it one of the most efficient airports in the world in terms of aircraft handling.
On an average, the city airport handles over 800 flights a day. Against this the Delhi airport, with three runways handles around 78 flights during peak hours. “The runways–09-27 main and 14-32–will remain closed between 1200 hrs and 1700 hrs on Mondays and Thursdays till November 28, to conduct ‘preventive runway surface work’, a technology to fill in gaps on the runway,” MIAL had said in an earlier statement last month wherein it advised airlines to reschedule their operations.
To avert delays and inconvenience to passengers, most of the airlines have started alternative plan of action. Low-cost carrier Indigo has said it would waive cancellation and rescheduling charges for flights affected by the closure. Jet Airways said in a statement today, “in light of the forthcoming closure of the Mumbai Airport runway from October 18 to end-November, we have revised our flight schedules for some of its flights arriving into/departing from Mumbai.”
“We are taking proactive steps to keep guests updated of revised timings and re-accommodation on alternate flights wherever necessary. Guests are also advised to check the revised schedules and updates on our website,” it said. Similarly, the largest carrier Indigo too said since the airport will not be available for operations between October 31 and November 28 on Mondays and Thursdays between 1200 and 1700 hrs, it is rescheduling flights to and fro Mumbai and passengers are requested to check the new timings with the airline.
Vistara is also coming up with a plan to adjust its operations according to the runway changes. Incidentally, Air India, which has the largest number of operations from the airport, is yet to announce its alternate arrangements