Vado­dara, Su­rat, Au­rangabad to con­tact city ATC ev­ery night

Move tak­ing into ac­count pas­sen­ger safety dur­ing the mon­soon when weather is un­friendly for land­ing, take- off

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Shahkar Abidi @ abidi_ shahkar Shahkar Abidi @ abidi_ shahkar

With safety of pas­sen­gers in mind, air­ports in Vado­dara, Su­rat and Au­rangabad have been asked to con­tact the Mum­bai air­port air traf­fic con­trol ( ATC) for daily weather con­di­tions and any pos­si­ble di­ver­sion of air­planes be­fore clos­ing ev­ery night till the end of the mon­soon sea­son.

The rea­son is Ahmed­abad air­port, to which fl ights from Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji In­ter­na­tional Air­port ( CSIA), are gen­er­ally di­verted dur­ing bad weather, of­ten gets con­gested due to this. Air­planes com­ing to Mum­bai of­ten take enough fuel to fl y to Ahmed­abad as a con­tin­gency mea­sure. How­ever, at times dur­ing heavy rains in Mum­bai, many fl ights get di­verted to Ahmed­abad, adding to the al­ready sched­uled fl ight traffi c there.

“A dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion can de­velop at Ahmed­abad air­port — fuel in a di­verted fl ight can get de­pleted as it may have to wait for run­way to clear for land­ing. Hence, fl ights can be di­verted to Vado­dara, Su­rat and pos­si­bly Au­rangabad air­ports that are close by,” said a se­nior Air­port Author­ity of In­dia ( AAI) offi cial.

AAI con­trols air­craft move­ments at all civil avi­a­tion air­ports in In­dia. A sim­i­lar at­tempt was made last year also on a pi­lot ba­sis.

More than 2.60 lakh flight move­ments were recorded at CSIA dur­ing 2013- 14, mak­ing it among the busiest air­ports in the coun­try. The sit­u­a­tion here dur­ing heavy rain­fall turns diffi cult for air traffi c con­trollers at such times and flight move­ments get af­fected.

Vado­dara and Su­rat air­ports are small, serv­ing limited num­ber of fl ights. Hence, these air­ports mainly re­main shut dur­ing nights in case fl ights are not sched­uled.

“The op­tion of keep­ing more air­ports open dur­ing bad weather will defi nitely be a help from the safety point of view” said a source in AAI. A se­ries of flash sales an­nounced by dif­fer­ent air­lines in In­dia has led to an in­crease in fl ight book­ings by three to five times over the past two years.

A study con­ducted by DGM, a leading dig­i­tal net­work ser­vice provider, over a pe­riod of two years, sug­gests that travel por­tals saw a sud­den rush of pur­chase of fl ight tick­ets dur­ing the fl ash sale sea­son.

Anurag Gupta, CEO of DGM, said, “Our study on the fi rst fl ash sales of the year has re­vealed a sub­stan­tial amount of up­surge in the trans­ac­tions. Sim­i­lar re­sults were no­ticed last year as well.”

Air­lines in In­dia have been fall­ing over each other to of­fer dis­counts in air­fare in view of the in­creas­ing com­pe­ti­tion and a slow­ing down of the econ­omy. This has led to a price war, benefi tting the pas­sen­gers the most. Of­ten, within hours of a flash dis­count be­ing an­nounced by one air­line, its ri­vals too join the band­wagon, re­sult­ing in a surge in book­ings.

“Many a times, these book­ings are made on an im­pulse by the pas­sen­gers,” said Iqbal Mulla, pres­i­dent, Travel Agents As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia.

On Thurs­day, a leading low­cost car­rier, AirAsia, started its oper­a­tion. The air­line is known for of­fer­ing re­ally low fares in all the coun­tries it op­er­ates.

— Shahkar Abidi

not just the Mum­bai roads that are fac­ing traffi c jams, even the air above the city is con­gested. And this is prov­ing to be a recurring prob­lem for CSIA au­thor­i­ties. Last month, 1,612 ar­riv­ing and 1,722 de­part­ing fl ights were de­layed. Though in­tro­duc­tion of rapid exit taxi­ways and re­duc­tion in dis­tance be­tween air­craft is ex­pected to ease the sit­u­a­tion, air­port ca­pac­ity will reach the sat­u­ra­tion point in the next few years, avi­a­tion ex­perts warned. Ac­cord­ing to min­istry of civil avi­a­tion data, 283 ar­riv­ing fl ights of In­digo Air­lines were de­layed. Spicejet, GoAir, Air In­dia and Jet Air­ways/ Jet lite air­lines had 151, 283, 458, 437 of their ar­riv­ing fl ights get­ting de­layed, re­spec­tively. Sim­i­larly, 343 de­part­ing fl ights of In­digo were de­layed. Spicejet, GoAir, Air In­dia, Jet/ Jetlite saw 224, 232, 373, 550 of their de­part­ing fl ights get­ting de­layed, re­spec­tively. Air­port offi cials said con­ges­tion at CSIA was worse dur­ing the morn­ing and evening peak hours, with planes made to hover around the air­port for about 25 min­utes be­fore get­ting land­ing per­mis­sion.

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