Air passengers should brace for flight delays and disruption, as India’s 2 busiest airports, Mumbai and Delhi Airport, will close their runway for maintenance at different periods starting next month and stretching through the first quarter of 2019.
While one runway at Delhi airport will be closed for 13 days starting 15 November 2018, the airport in Mumbai will remain shut for 6 hours, thrice a week, between 7 February 2019 and end of March.
It is expected that more than 2000 flights will be cancelled or rescheduled during this period. According to the Delhi airport, 1300 flights will be affected. More than 700 flights will be affected in Mumbai according to airline executives.
Airport operators, Delhi International Airport Limited(DIAL) & Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) have said that the runways need repair and that they have planned the maintenance with proper coordination with all stakeholders, including airlines.
Delhi airport, with three runways, will close its Runway 27, the oldest runway at the airport that is used primarily by flights using Terminal 1D, starting November 15.
According to MIAL, this closure is to strengthen the intersection in the runway at Mumbai airport. Since the repair work is to be done at the intersection, they will have to close the runway completely.
The runway at the Mumbai airport will be closed from 11 am to 5 pm during a 52-day period starting February 7, 2018. It will also be closed for a few hours for runway maintenance on 23 October 2018 which is set to impact at least 32 flights.
According to Air India, around 200 domestic flight departures and arrivals are likely to be affected by the runway closure.
A spokesperson from Vistara has said that the airline has decided to cancel as well as re-schedule some flights during the runway closure period.