AAI Asks Mumbai Airport To Reduce Flights, Limit Business Jet Movements Amid Surge In Air Travel Demand

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The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has instructed Mumbai Airport to decrease the number of scheduled flights and restrict the movement of business jets during peak hours in an effort to ease congestion and enhance on-time departures. The decision is predicted to affect about 40 flights and cause operational disruptions on private jets that are regularly utilised by the nation’s most prestigious business organisations.

The AAI is responsible for all the air navigation services. The airport has been instructed by AAI to reduce aircraft movement during rush hour from 46 to 44, and during non-peak hours from 44 to 42. As a result, airlines like Vistara and IndiGo, Air India group, including Vistara, might have to alter their flying schedules.

Major business organisations like Reliance Industries, JSW, and the Mahindra group objected to the extension of the curfew on operating business jets from four hours to eight hours.

Following concerns from Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia regarding the airport’s poor on-time departure performance, the decision was made to curtail flights and prolong the business jet curfew.

Senior air traffic controllers believe that airlines’ overscheduling during a spike in demand for air travel is the main cause of delays. Government representatives underlined that unplanned movements of government and business planes and the availability of infrastructure are two things that cause delays. 

Airports have also been urged to take unanticipated events into account when projecting peak-hour capacity for the summer schedule.

Airports have also come under scrutiny after many flights in the northern part of India faced delays and cancellations due to heavy fog and other reasons in January 2024. The huge chaos caused over the last month revealed concerns in airline and airport management, especially after a video showing passengers eating on the tarmac, next to planes at Mumbai Airport, went viral on social media.

The abrupt modification to the international airport’s schedule may cause delays to redeployment plans and result in losses for the airport, airlines, and travellers. Industry stakeholders are worried about how the new limits on business aircraft will affect Mumbai’s ability to function as the country’s economic center.