Gov't to crack down on delayed flights to de-congest Delhi airport

Sept. 2, 2010


Sept. 02--NEW DELHI -- Peak hour congestion over the Delhi and Mumbai airspace could soon be a thing of the past.

The Ministry of Civil of Aviation is firming up a proposal that will ensure aircraft don't hover endlessly in the skies, waiting for their turn to land.

On any given day, Delhi and Mumbai handle 710 and 690 flights respectively.

As per the plan, delayed flights won't be allowed to take off from the originating station if it will arrive during peak hours in Delhi and Mumbai.

The proposed plan is still being fine-tuned by the Ministry along with the DGCA (Directo-rate General of Civil Aviation) and AAI (Airports Authority of India) and could be implemented as early as next week.

To start with, the focus will be on evening peak hours, tentatively between 9.15 and 11:15 pm. During this period, Delhi and Mumbai handle around 50 arrivals respectively.

So, for instance, if a flight from Bangalore is scheduled to land at Delhi at 8.45 p.m. and is delayed by half-an-hour, it won't be given permission to take off. It will only be allowed to depart at a time when it reaches Delhi after peak hours, or whenever slots for landing are available.

Officials allayed fears that the move would affect passengers, saying airlines would fall in line. They cited the example of a recent DGCA directive to mitigate flight delays, following which the on-time performance showed improvement from 15-20 per cent to 50-60 per cent in Delhi and from 40-50 per cent to 70-75 per cent in Mumbai. As per the DGCA order, flights that get delayed simply have to join at the end of the queue of flights waiting to take off.

"This is good news not only for passengers who suffer the most, but also for carriers who reportedly wasted fuel worth R500 crore in 2009-10 circling around cities," said an official with knowledge about the developments.