The state government of Maharashtra has now given a go-ahead to Mumbai International Airport Limited(MIAL), the operator of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) to conduct 100 operations daily, as per arrivals and departures per day from 25 each to 50 each.
In a statement, the MIAL said, “GVK MIAL managing the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) is permitted to cater to a total of 100 domestic commercial passenger flight movements, which include 50 departures and 50 arrivals starting June 16.”
“The move will also see an increase in the sectors that we are currently handling. We are glad about the new progress that has come in favour of CSMIA, and we continue to relentlessly work towards ensuring the safety of our passengers and smooth functioning at the airport,” a spokesperson added.
Maharashtra was one of the states, apart from West Bengal, to be reluctant to reopen its airports after the Ministry of Civil Aviation decided to resume 33 percent commercial air travel on May 25, and in some cases, Maharashtra had agreed on May 24 in the evening to admit only 25 arrivals and 25 departures from the airport under pressure from the center.
The Airport can schedule flights to more sectors with more number of flights allowed now.
“The move will also see an increase in the sectors that we are currently handling. We are glad about the new progress that has come in favour of CSMIA, and we continue to relentlessly work towards ensuring the safety of our passengers and smooth functioning at the airport,” the airport stated.
Jitender Bhargava, former managing director of Air India and author of The Descent of Air India, who had supported the gradual increase in flights, said: “It is a welcome step because increasing the number of flights enables connections to more cities and more Frequencies to cities already connected. More departing / arriving passengers also improve employment opportunities for taxi drivers and those dealing with app-based taxi services.
Bhargava said the passenger load factor remained low.
“The number of passengers is disappointingly low because there are only one arriving passengers for every three departing passengers. Because Mumbai is severely affected by the corona virus, people quit but do not enter. The burdens are low nationwide because fewer people travel, ”he said.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation data showed that seat occupancy wasn’t rising above 50 to 53 percent and that airlines had difficulty filling the seats.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted that domestic operations continued to grow and on June 14 the airlines performed 714 flights with 72,583 passengers.
DSudharakara Reddy, President, Air Passsengers’ Association of India, said, “Even this traffic is only a measly 18 per cent of January/February daily passenger load factors. Let’s wait for improvement in the load. Otherwise passengers will end up facing cancellations and lose money as airlines don’t refund.”
Mumbai Airport, one of the busiest in the country, handled around 1,000 operations before the Covid-19 lockdown was enforced.
(Source – ET Travel)