New Delhi: Trying to battle increasing congestion at major airports the Government has decided to freeze the number of flights that can be operated by domestic airlines from Delhi and Mumbai airports during peak hours at the existing levels for the forthcoming summer season. In effect, this means that no new flights will be operated during peak hours from these two airports over the coming seven months.
The Government, however, is yet to decide on what constitutes peak hours for these airports, which are the two busiest in the country. As conventionally understood, the peak hours extend from 7 to 10 a.m. and from 6 to 10 p.m.
Traditionally, airline schedules are approved twice annually; once in March for the summer schedules, and in October for the winter one.
Talking about the decision, senior Government officials said that Delhi and Mumbai airports could not handle more than 30 flights an hour until proper infrastructure is created.
Measures currently under consideration to ease congestion at these two airports include allowing Delhi airport to increase the number of hours, during which it allows simultaneous use of both runways, to four. It is expected that once this increase occurs, it will go a long way towards easing the problems faced by carriers.
At Mumbai, the airport operator shortly plans to allow the use of cross-runways, which should also help in easing problems faced by airlines.
The congestion problem is also heightened by the shortage of a sufficient number of trained Air Traffic Controllers in the country.
The decision to freeze the number of flights at the existing levels was taken at a meeting attended by the secretary, civil aviation, Ashok Chawla, along with senior officials of private airlines, such as Air Sahara, SpiceJet and Jet Airways.