Mumbai airport will be shut down for flights between noon and 5pm to carry out runway maintenance work on Monday. According to a TOI report, airlines and pilots have been informed in advance about the scheduled closure and flight timings have been accordingly changed or some flights cancelled. But the closure is expected to have an effect on the evening flight schedule, what with air traffic congestion expected post-5pm, said an air traffic controller.
Monday’s closure will be the first of the many partial or complete closures that the Mumbai airport will witness in November. Going by the flights it handles in the afternoon, a total of over 1,600 flights, most of them domestic, are expected to be hit. The maintenance work, which began on October 18, will end by the last week of November and on several days, the runway will be closed in the afternoon. An airport official told TOI that work on preservation of runway surface will be carried out.
Meanwhile, with congestion at the airport worsening by the day, the government has roped in a British agency to find ways to increase the runways’ hourly aircraft handling capacity . “Mumbai airport’s operator has asked the UK-based NATS to do a study to optimise the use of runways, at the behest of the aviation ministry,” an Airports Authority of India official told TOI.