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Mumbai airport main runway likely to be operational by Thursday


PTI, Jul 2, 2019, 6:18 PM IST

Mumbai: In more woes for airlines, the main runway of the Mumbai airport is likely to remain closed for flight operations till Thursday as it will take more time to remove the SpiceJet plane that was stuck partially on the runway on Monday, according to officials.

Heavy rains in the city have already disrupted operations at the airport, with at least 52 flights being cancelled and 55 flights being diverted on Tuesday.

A SpiceJet flight from Jaipur carrying 167 passengers and crew overshot the runway after landing amid heavy rains. The aircraft is stuck partially on the runway and the nearby grass area.

A team of engineers and technicians from Air India has started work to remove the stuck plane with the Disabled Aircraft Recovery Kit (DARK). The kit, used to remove stuck aircraft, is only available with the national carrier, an Air India spokesperson said.

“A 150-metre long ramp is being prepared to enable push the aircraft out of the grassy area. Air India’s disable aircraft removal kit has been mobilised,” an official of the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) said.

MIAL is the airport operator.

The officials said the aircraft is likely to removed by Thursday and then the runway would be fully operational.

“Currently, secondary runway is in use. Our team is trying their best to bring the main runway back into operation and this may take up to 48 hours,” MIAL said in a tweet.

Mumbai airport has two runways and the second one can handle only up to 35 aircraft movements per hour while the main runway can handle 48 plane movements every hour, according to MIAL.

The city’s airport is the second busiest in the country, handling around 1,000 arrivals and departures per day. The airport in Delhi is the busiest as it handles around 1,300 movements per day.

As many as 52 flights were cancelled and another 55 diverted, including 29 domestic and 26 international ones, till about 10 am Tuesday due to “inclement” weather and runway closure since Monday late evening, a MIAL official said.

The Monday’s incident was the second in one week of a SpiceJet aircraft overshooting the runway.

On June 30, a SpiceJet plane from Bhopal veered off the runway at Surat airport due to heavy rainfall and wind.

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