Hundreds of flights to be cancelled till March! Will Mumbai airport flight restrictions lead to rising airfares?

Feb14,2024



Mumbai Airport Flight Operations Update: The Ministry of Civil Aviation has said it had to intervene to force Mumbai airport to reduce flight operations Due to excessive slot allocation, overcrowding occurred and waiting times for aircraft increased, sometimes up to 60 minutes.
Airport slots refer to specific time periods allotted for takeoff or landing of aircraft. According to the ministry, the airport operator failed to implement measures to effectively regulate air traffic activities, reported ET.
Recognizing the need to balance the interests of both airport operators and airlines while ensuring a satisfactory flight experience for passengers, the Civil Aviation Ministry explained its intervention.
The government's response comes after criticism from passengers who expressed concerns about a possible fare increase on the affected routes.
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Airlines are preparing to cancel hundreds of flights till March 30, in response to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) issuing instructions to Mumbai airport to reduce runway congestion. Around 40 flights are expected to be cut from the middle of this week. Reported by ET on Tuesday.
Major corporate houses like Reliance, JSW and Mahindra Group have started protesting against increasing the curfew on business jet operations at the airport from four hours to eight hours.
Mumbai airport, which is known for its heavy air traffic despite having a single runway, recorded its highest monthly traffic in December, handling 4.88 million passengers.
Akasa Air announced the cancellation of two daily flights until the end of next month, in response to flight operation restrictions.
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An airline spokesperson said flight operations from Mumbai are likely to be affected due to guidelines aimed at reducing runway congestion at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. As a result, two flights will be canceled from February 15 to March 30, 2024. Affected passengers are given the option to either rebook their tickets or receive a full refund. Those choosing to rebook can reschedule their flights till April 15, 2024.
SpiceJet announced its compliance with the government directive without disclosing the number of flights affected.
The decision to reduce flights has been taken following concerns raised by Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia regarding the decline in on-time departures at the airport.
According to the ministry, an analysis by the Airports Authority of India has shown that aircraft movement during peak hours is almost equal to the total traffic volume of the remaining 18 hours. Additionally, commercial jet and military aircraft operations were allowed without any restrictions during these peak periods.
Congestion-related delays increase fuel consumption, resulting in increased operating costs. The ministry stressed that these increased costs are ultimately passed on to consumers and impact the efficiency of airports, resulting in longer waiting times and delays on both passengers and airlines.



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