Mumbai Airport: Less congestion, fewer delays, says MoCA

Civil aviation ministry says its initiatives are yielding results

GN Bureau | February 28, 2024

#civil aviation   #Mumbai  
Mumbai Airport (Image courtesy of
Mumbai Airport (Image courtesy of

Mumbai is one of busiest airports in India, handling a large volume of domestic and international flights including military, non-scheduled and general aviation flights.

Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) has two intersecting runways which cannot be operated simultaneously, resulting in single runway operations with a peak hour declared capacity of 46 aircraft movement (arrival or departure) in an hour, during High Intensity Runway Operations (HIRO) & 44 aircraft movement per hour (during NON-HIRO) period.

During the winter schedule 2023, the airport has been experiencing frequent congestion leading to aircraft hovering overhead for a significant duration causing inconvenience due to delay passengers, wastage of fuel and environmental pollution.

In an effort to address the issue of airspace congestion, on January 2, the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) directed the airport operator; Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) and Airports Authority of India (AAI), to mitigate congestion by restricting the movements of non-scheduled flights (General Aviation) during the identified peak hours (0800-1100 IST, 1700-2000 and 2115-2315 IST).

An analysis conducted by AAI pointed to excessive slot allocation and poor slot adherence as a major contributor to the traffic congestion witnessed. On 15th Feb’24 after reviewing the existing situation, the Ministry directed the Airport operator, in addition to earlier measures to reduce their flight operations from 46 to 44 per hour during HIRO period and from 44 to 42 aircraft movement per hour during remaining period with provision of 02 slots for General Aviation aircraft. Airport Operator in coordination with airlines has implemented the directions effective since 20th Feb’24. All the Domestic airline operators were also advised to strictly adhere to the slots allocated by MIAL to avoid air congestion.

The Air traffic situation at Mumbai post above initiatives is being monitored and has shown improvement from February 19, an official release said Tuesday.

For the period from November 11 to December 10, 2023, for 14476 arrivals, the delays were as under:

i.    Before Schedule: 4979 aircraft (34.4%)
ii.    0-15 minutes: 3632 aircraft (25.1%)
iii.    15-30 minutes: 2083 aircraft (14.4%)
iv.    30-60 minutes: 2141aircraft (14.8%)
v.    More than 60 minutes: 1641 aircraft (11.3%)

In comparison, for the period from February 16 to February 24, 2024 for 4337 arrivals, the delay is as under:

i.    Before Schedule: 570 aircraft (13%)
ii.    0-15 minutes: 2469 aircraft (57%)
iii.    15-30 minutes: 1120 aircraft (26%)
iv.    30-60 minutes: 178 aircraft (4%)
v.    More than 60 minutes: Nil (0%)

The aircraft operating earlier than the approved slot (marked as before schedule in the data) lead to congestion and delay for other aircraft adhering to the schedule, which in turn will have a cascading effect on the other schedule movements. These movements were also targeted for improvements and airlines asked to adhere to the allotted slots.

MoCA is closely monitoring the air traffic situation at Mumbai and is committed to reduce the inconvenience caused to the travelling passengers, the official release said.



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