Cruising Heights
Madness Mumbai Image Credit: Cruising Heights
Madness Mumbai Image Credit: Cruising Heights

Madness @ Mumbai

If airline operators were asked for their wish list every year, topping the chart would be ‘Slots in Mumbai’. Costlier, perhaps many times more than the real estate in India’s maximum city, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) – along with the other metro airports – is crying out for desperately-needed infrastructure that will enhance capacity.

Ameya Joshi

Those two days were flashes in the Mumbai airport pan. Try as hard as it can, the airport cannot do the high numbers it has recorded, every day. Reason: It has no capacity.

The grim situation at Mumbai has been replicated across the country – as if a template. Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, all have either run out of slots to offer to airlines or are offering slots for red-eye flights alone. Bengaluru has seen a delay in the building of its second runway and the first saw increase in capacity after a while. Hyderabad, on the other hand, is battling terminal capacity constraints.

While the major metros face challenges, the country has a peculiar problem with airports in other cities. The terminal, apron and runway capacity have a mismatch. Take the case of Patna, which has consistently seen above-industry average growth in the last decade. The runway can handle more movements but the apron is congested and the terminal cannot handle full load of passengers if all the aircraft that the apron can accommodate are on ground at the same time. The problem is so acute that Airports Authority of India (AAI – the operator of the airport) has pitched temporary tents to be used till the terminal is expanded. Such stop gap arrangements, unfortunately, are not growth drivers.

The situation repeats itself at Pune, Guwahati and many more airports across the country. Sadly this also includes airports like Jaipur and Ahmedabad which saw new terminal infrastructure

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