NEW DELHI: Indians may be flying like never before but the infrastructure crunch at metro airports is limiting their choice of flights. The problem is so acute that putting an additional flight in peak hours is becoming tough at most metros.
Delhi airport, for instance, will not be adding a single flight between 7 am and 10 pm this summer.
Airlines are pleading with Mumbai airport to allow more domestic flights at night as the airport has no additional slots left.
These two airports alone accounted for almost 10 crore of the total (domestic-cum-international) traffic of just over 15 crore last year.
The severe infrastructure crunch at major Indian airports was highlighted during recent deliberations aviation authorities held with airlines to finalise the summer schedule this year.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) cleared a summer schedule of 17,170 domestic flights a week from 77 airports by 12 airlines.
TOI accessed the minutes of the meeting, prepared by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which reveals that big airports are bursting at the seams. So much so that airlines have ordered hundreds of planes but no one knows where they will be parked.
The Delhi airport’s representative said at the meeting that “no new flights are being accepted from 7 am to 10 pm as Delhi airport is full during that period”.
Delhi is the only airport in India that has three runways but due to airside infrastructure crunch, the hourly aircraft movement remains way below potential.
The minutes say that while the maximum hourly capacity of IGI Airport’s three runways is 75 aircraft (70 schedule and 5 non-schedule), the “practical hourly capacity to be considered for allocation of slots” is much less at 67 (62 schedule and 5 non-schedule).
A reduction of eight schedule flights means 192 fewer flights a day. With two IGI runways (when one is closed for repairs), the hourly capacity is between 45 and 60.
Also between 11pm and 6am, it can handle a maximum of 45 flights an hour due to special runway usage procedure to cut on night-time noise from planes The Mumbai airport representative admitted that his was a “constrained airport”. Read more….