Mumbai: Several flights to and from Mumbai and Delhi airports are expected to be rescheduled or cancelled later this year, when runways at India’s busiest airports are scheduled to be closed for maintenance work.
More than 250 flights per day are expected to be affected at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), which sees about 46 arrivals and departures per hour, when both its runways will remain closed for six hours for maintenance work on 23 October and on every alternate day from 7 February and 30 March 2019.
About 100 flights are expected to be affected every day from 15 November and 27 November at Delhi International Airport (DIAL) when one of the three runways will be closed for maintenance work.
“DIAL is planning the closure of Runway (number) 27/09 to carry out preventive repairs. The works are scheduled to be undertaken for a 13-day duration starting from 15 November 2018,” a DIAL spokesperson said in an e-mail.
“This will lower the capacity of IGI (Indira Gandhi International) Airport by 50 arrivals and 50 departures every day in this duration. The work is essential for safe aircraft operations and to avoid sudden disruptions that cause greater impact because of the time required for planning the logistics,” the DIAL spokesperson said.
The maintenance work at the Mumbai airport will be carried out at the intersection of the runways, leading to the closure of both runways.
“We have already informed the airlines months in advance about the situation and have encouraged them to bring in wide body aircraft (so that they have enough capacity),” said a CSIA spokesperson.
The maintenance work will lead airlines to reschedule and even cancel flights from two of the busiest airports of the country during the peak winter season.
An IndiGo spokesperson said the airline is “working with the respective airports to minimise the impact of the runway closures on the travelling public”.
Flights are expected to be affected because of the closure of runways at Delhi and Mumbai airports, but it is not clear yet if flights will be rescheduled or cancelled, said a SpiceJet spokesperson.
“It will be difficult to cope with the situation as the runway closure at both Delhi and Mumbai airports come during the peak winter season,” said an Air India spokesperson.
“We will add wide body aircraft (to increase capacity), but there is a limitation to the aircraft that can be added on the affected routes. This is a difficult situation for all airlines as flights will have to be curtailed,” the Air India spokesperson said.