All flights on time at Mumbai Airport

For the first time in two years, almost all flights took off on time from Mumbai Airport on Thursday, just three days after the aviation regulator began penalising delays. This happened even though only one of the two runways was in use. Barring negligible delays because of low visibility early in the morning, only three flights out of 250, took off late, less than five per cent of 60 that used to be delayed on an average.

All the three delayed flights were Jet Airways' because the airline rescheduled them by an hour.

"There has been an unprecedented improvement in punctuality," said a senior air traffic control (ATC) official, requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

Before the regulator's rule that came into effect on Monday, most airlines continued to sell tickets and board passengers until the scheduled departure times, leading to delays, especially during peak hours.

"Airline staff escorting business class fliers five to ten minutes past the take-off time was rampant," said an airline ground staffer.

A shortage of security personnel and ATC staff also contributed to slowing the boarding. With 2000 Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawans the airport is short by 1000 personnel.

Similarly, there are 100 positions vacant at the ATC. The airport has only 220 officials to handle 700 take offs and landings every day.

Source Hindustan Times, Mumbai