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August 7, 2010

Potholed runway hits flight operation

Filed under: Airports,Incidents — aerotowfeeq @ 8:49 pm
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It’s not just the roads of the city that develop potholes during monsoon, the lashing rains do not spare even the airport runway. Flight operations to and from Mumbai airport were suspended for 20 minutes on Tuesday after the surface of the main runway got damaged due to heavy rains.

“Runway 09/27 was closed for maintenance for 20 minutes from 12.40 pm to 1 pm. There was some surface disintegration in a small area which was restored in 20 minutes of closure,” said a Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL) spokesperson. The Mumbai airport has two cross-runways but flight operations could not be moved to the secondary runway due to poor visibility. “The visibility was only 1,000 metres, which is way below the minimal visibility required for secondary runway operations. Flight operations were re-started at 1 pm on the main runway,” said M G Junghare, general manager, Mumbai airport. “Due to surface disintegration, there was waterlogging on the runway. It was not peak air traffic time and so, not many flights were affected,” he added.

Among the affected flights was IT-306, operated by Kingfisher Airlines on the Delhi-Mumbai route. It was diverted to Ahmedabad. There are quite a few flights by full-fare and low-cost carriers to London, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad during this time-period and these departures were delayed.

The main runway 09/27 will be taken up for recarpeting work in the coming months, which would mean increased delays for passengers. The Mumbai airport is yet to get permission from the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for the same. The flight operations will be moved to the secondary runway during this period. However, since the secondary runway is shorter in length, it could lead to payload penalty (restriction on take-off weight) for flights operated by heavy aircraft. The secondary runway has been recarpeted and was closed between October and March during the last fiscal.


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