In a bid to ease congestion and improve on-time departures, the Union government has asked Mumbai Airport, setting off a series of changes that are poised to impact both scheduled flights and private jet movements. The Airport Authority of India (AAI), under the government's directives, has instructed Mumbai Airport to reduce the number of scheduled flights and and limit the movement of business jet during the peak hours, according to the Economic Times.
The AAI have asked the Mumbai airport to limit aircraft movements from 46 to 44 during peak hours and from 44 to 42 during off-peak periods. This move is expected to result in reduction of approximately 40 flights, affecting major airlines, including IndiGo and the Air India group, which includes Vistara. IndiGo is expected a reduction of 18 flights, while the Air India group is set to cut 17 flights.
Additionally, the extension of the curfew for business jets from four to eight hours has triggered objections from major corporate entities like Reliance Industries, JSW, and the Mahindra Group, prompting protests within the business aviation sector due to potential disruptions in the operations of private jets commonly utilized by leading businesses in the country.
Challenges and Concerns for Aviation Operations
The decision to implement these measures is a response to the challenges faced by Mumbai Airport, the second busiest in the country, after Delhi.
Mumbai Airport, despite having only one runway, manages a higher volume of flights than any other airport, achieving its peak monthly traffic of 4.88 million passengers in December. Nevertheless, issues such as overscheduling, infrastructure limitations, and unexpected movements, especially from government and business jets, have led to a decrease in on-time departure rates.
Factors such as runway capacity, including infrastructure availability and aircraft turnaround time, play a crucial role in flight delays, the Economic Times reported.
Additionally, concerns have been raised about the potential impact on the ability of airlines to redeploy aircraft, leading to financial losses and compensation payouts to affected passengers.