According to an ET report, to achieve this, the Airport Authority of India, which is responsible for air navigation services, has directed Mumbai airport to reduce aircraft movement from 46 to 44 during peak hours and from 44 to 42 outside peak times.
Industry executives familiar with the matter said the directive will lead airlines to reduce approximately 40 flights starting this week. Indigowhich operates the largest number of flights, will have to reduce 18 flights, while the Air India group, including Vistara, will have to cut 17 flights.
Punctual departures from Mumbai Airport
Additionally, the curfew on business jet operations was extended from four hours to eight hours, resulting in protests by major corporate groups such as Reliance Industries, JSW and the Mahindra group, the report said.
Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the airport operator, declined to comment at this time.
Owned by Adani group, the airport is the second busiest in the country, after Delhi, and receives significant business jet traffic. In December, it handled a record monthly traffic of 4.88 million passengers, operating more flights than any other single-runway airport.
Sources familiar with the matter revealed that this decision was prompted by concerns raised by Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia regarding the decline in on-time departure performance at the airport.
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Senior air traffic controllers have identified overscheduling by airlines in response to increased demand for air travel as the main cause of delays this year.
According to a government official, runway capacity depends on several factors, such as infrastructure availability, parking spaces and the time it takes for aircraft to vacate the runway. Airlines are allocated slots based on maximum handling capacity, but delays occur when aircraft in adjacent parking spaces cannot move due to an aircraft moving away from another parking space. Additionally, unscheduled movements like government and executive planes 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 next summer.
Air network planners have expressed concerns that such sudden cancellations will harm their ability to redeploy aircraft, resulting in financial losses. An airline executive noted that airlines would have to provide substantial compensation to affected passengers.