According to an ET report, to achieve this, the Airport Authority of India, responsible for air navigation services, has directed the Mumbai airport to reduce aircraft movement from 46 to 44 during peak hours and from 44 to 42 during non-peak hours.
Industry executives familiar with the matter have stated that this directive will lead to airlines slashing approximately 40 flights starting this week. IndiGo, which operates the highest number of flights, will need to reduce 18 flights, while the Air India group, including Vistara, will have to cut 17 flights.
On time departures from Mumbai Airport
Furthermore, the curfew on business jet operations has been extended from four hours to eight hours, resulting in protests from major corporate groups like Reliance Industries, JSW, and the Mahindra group, the report said.
Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the operator of the airport, declined to comment at this time.
Owned by the Adani group, the airport is the second busiest in the country after Delhi and experiences significant business jet traffic. In December, it handled a record-breaking monthly traffic of 4.88 million passengers, operating more flights than any other airport with a single runway.
Sources familiar with the matter have revealed that this decision was prompted by concerns raised by the Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia, regarding the declining on-time departure performance at the airport.
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Senior air traffic controllers have identified overscheduling by airlines in response to the increased demand for air travel as the primary cause of delays this year.
According to a government official, runway capacity depends on various factors such as infrastructure availability, parking stands, and the time taken by aircraft to vacate the runway. Airlines are allocated slots based on peak handling capacity, but delays occur when aircraft in adjacent parking bays cannot move due to the pushing back of an aircraft from another bay. Additionally, unscheduled movements, such as government and business aircraft, sometimes further delay scheduled flights in a city like Mumbai.
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The government has also instructed airports to consider unforeseen circumstances when forecasting peak hour capacity for the upcoming summer schedule.
Airline network planners have expressed concerns that such sudden cancellations hinder their ability to redeploy aircraft, resulting in financial losses. An airline executive noted that airlines would have to provide substantial compensation to affected passengers.