Mumbai: The flights taking off from Mumbai Airport may face delays over the next four months as its main runway will be shut for constructing a rapid exit taxiway from January 20 until June 1, between 9 am and 5 pm, sources said.
Delays of up to 40 minutes are likely as the secondary runway cannot accommodate as many flights as the main runway, they said.
"Mumbai International Airport Ltd will construct a rapid exit taxiway (RET) so that flights can vacate the runway smoothly and quickly. During its construction, the main runway will need to be be shut for some time. Though it will be open for operations during peak departure hours in the morning and
peak arrival hours at night. Flight movement during the day will take place on the secondary runway," an official said.
The runway needs more RETs so that aircraft runway occupancy time can be reduced and more flights can be accommodated. The construction is part of MIAL's plan to create a network of parallel taxiways and RETs along the two runways. Currently, the airport has four RETs and five parallel exit taxiways, according to sources.
Incidentally, this development comes at a time when four airports in south India in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin and Chennai remain closed for three hours in the afternoon due to maintenance and modernisation work resulting in flight disruptions.
The sources also said that air connectivity at the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) is also likely to be further affected from next month if its developer GVK gets nod to close the arterial airport for seven hours daily.
GVK has already proposed this plan to civil aviation regulator DGCA, saying it needs to shut airspace between 10.30 am until 5.30 pm daily from February 25 to April 19, for some work.
BIAL has floated a consultation paper for a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) for closing the airport between February 25 and April 19. But DGCA does not believe that it is feasible, an official said.
"Already, all domestic airlines have filed their summer schedules which come into effect from the end of March and this would mean an increase in the number of flights. So how can Bangalore airport be shut for seven long hours for almost two months," he said adding DGCA has indicated that BIAL may be asked to defer its plans.