With safety of passengers in mind, airports in Vadodara, Surat and Aurangabad have been asked to contact the Mumbai airport air traffic control (ATC) for daily weather conditions and any possible diversion of airplanes before closing every night till the end of the monsoon season.
The reason for this is that Ahmedabad airport to which flights from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) are generally diverted during bad weather, often gets congested because of this. Airplanes coming to Mumbai often take enough fuel to fly to Ahmedabad as a contingency measure. However, at times during heavy rains in Mumbai, many flights get diverted to Ahmedabad, adding to the already scheduled flight traffic there. "A dangerous situation can develop at Ahmedabad airport due to this, as fuel in a diverted flight can get depleted as it may have to wait for runway to clear for landing. Hence, flights can be diverted to Vadodara, Surat and possibly Aurangabad airports that are close by," said a senior Airport Authority of India (AAI) official.
AAI controls aircraft movements at all civil aviation airports in India. A similar attempt was made last year also on a pilot basis, the AAI official added.
More than 2.60 lakh flight movements were recorded at CSIA during 2013-14, making it among the busiest airports in the country. The situation here during heavy rainfall turns difficult for air traffic controllers at such times and flight movements get affected.
Vadodara and Surat airports are small, serving limited number of flights. Hence, these airports mainly remain shut during nights in case flights are not scheduled. "The option of keeping more airports open during bad weather will definitely be a help from the safety point of view" said a source in AAI.