MUMBAI: The Mumbai airport, India’s second busiest by passengers and most congested, faced its worst delays in at least five years in 2017.
Nearly a third of the flights were delayed on average during the year, according to data on the airport’s website, reports The Economic Times.
And December was the worst month in five years, with 44% of departures and 47% of arrivals getting delayed, resulting in delays in 45.5% of the total flights at the airport.
The data showed the airport, run by the GVK PowerBSE 4.88 % and Infrastructure-led consortium Mumbai International Airport (MIAL), has deteriorated every year in terms of following the flight schedule. In 2013, about 23% of flights were delayed on average, and the proportion increased every year thereafter.
In terms of departures, 36% of all flight delays were caused by Mumbai airport’s own air traffic control issues. About 48% or the highest chunk were because of “reactionary reasons”, under IATA Delay Codes 91-96 which include connecting flight delays, through check-in error, aircraft or cabin crew rotation, operations control or strikes at the airline or airport.
December usually sees a lot of cascading delays at the Mumbai airport due to glitches in Delhi, India’s busiest airport, which is affected by heavy fog during winter. Delhi-Mumbai is India’s busiest air route. This time, however, Delhi wasn’t to blame, said industry executives.
“Delhi was in fact much better this year. We got about two days of extremely bad fog which led to disrupted flight schedules. But the problems of Mumbai airport are largely its own,” said a senior executive of a low fare carrier, who didn’t want to be named.
In 2016-17, the Mumbai airport became the world’s busiest single-runway airport by handling 837 flights a day or one in 65 seconds on average, beating London’s Gatwick airport that had 757 flights a day.