Why turboprop aircraft may be phased out of Delhi, Mumbai airports

By: | Published: August 31, 2018 3:16 PM

Mumbai will face a bigger challenge as it does not have an alternate airport where smaller planes can be shifted. Meanwhile, for the national capital, the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh is being prepared for small aircraft civilian flights by early next year.

Earlier this week, the matter was discussed with the CEOs of airlines at a meeting, that was called by Aviation Secretary R N Choubey.

No more turboprops at Delhi, Mumbai airports? To add more flights on faster and bigger planes, soon slow-moving and low-capacity turboprops may be eased out of the Delhi and Mumbai airports. These airports together handle over two-thirds of the country’s air traffic but are facing severe infrastructure crunch. According to a TOI report, capacity addition will take three to five years in the form of a fourth runway as well as an expanded Terminal 1 at Indira Gandhi International airport and Greater Noida airport for Delhi and Navi Mumbai airport for Mumbai. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to shift turboprops out of these airports in a bid to cope with growing demand in this interim period.

AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra was quoted in the report saying that the authority has to optimise capacity both in the airside and terminal-side. Compared to other planes, the time runway occupancy of turboprops like ATRs is much higher. According to the Chairman, the turboprop flights under regional connectivity scheme should not be necessarily be stopped. But if both, Delhi and Mumbai are at present, are linked to a city by a turboprop and the airport of that city can take an Airbus A-320 or Boeing 737 type aircraft, then airlines should shift to those planes, he stated.

Earlier this week, the matter was discussed with the CEOs of airlines at a meeting, that was called by Aviation Secretary R N Choubey. Mohapatra further stated that the airlines understood the idea, but they said that they already have a network as well as fleet commitment. He also informed that the airlines have sought time to study the plan.

Mumbai will face a bigger challenge as it does not have an alternate airport where smaller planes can be shifted. Meanwhile, for the national capital, the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh is being prepared for small aircraft civilian flights by early next year.

The report also stated that AAI wants to have all RCS flights to and from the national capital there, and also it wants to shift non-RCS flights on planes with less than 80 number of seats, that includes business jets and turboprops. At present, business jets and turboprops are being operated from the choked Delhi Airport to Hindon.

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