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
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.
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.