Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Mumbai airport gets nod to handle 50 more flights from today

The Mumbai international airport said on Monday that it has received permission to increase the number of arrivals and departures per day from 25 each to 50 each, doubling the number of flights it can operate.
“GVK MIAL managing the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) is permitted to cater to a total of 100 domestic commercial passenger flight movements, which include 50 departures and 50 arrivals starting June 16,” the airport said in a statement.
Maharashtra was one of the states, apart from West Bengal, which was reluctant to reopen its airports after the Civil Aviation Ministry decided to resume 33 per cent commercial passenger flight operations from May 25. Under continuous lockdown since March 25 due to highest Covid-19 cases, Maharashtra had agreed on May 24 evening to allow just 25 arrivals and 25 departures from the airport under pressure from the Centre.
As a result, the airport and the airlines which had planned for operating nearly 200 flights had to cut down operations to just 50 flights, leading to massive cancellations and chaos at the airport. Some airlines did not have enough time to inform its customers of cancellations.
With only limited flights distributed across seven airlines, the airport was operating flights to only 16 sectors and the statistics indicated that more passengers were departing from Mumbai than those arriving. With limited sectors being covered, several passengers faced repeated flight cancellations as airlines could not schedule the flight to that city within the daily quota of 50. Flights on the Mumbai-Srinagar sector, for example, were repeatedly cancelled.
With more number of flights allowed now, the airport can schedule flights to more sectors. “The move will also see an increase in the sectors that we are currently handling. We are glad about the new progress that has come in favour of CSMIA, and we continue to relentlessly work towards ensuring the safety of our passengers and smooth functioning at the airport,” the airport statement said.
Jitender Bhargava, former executive director of Air India and author of The Descent of Air India, who had supported gradual increase in flights, said, “It is a welcome move as the increase in the number of flights will allow connectivity to more cities and more frequencies to already connected cities. More departing/arriving passengers will also enhance job opportunities for cab drivers and those engaged in app-based cab services.
16/06/20 Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror
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