Clogged metro airports: Government plans more plane parking bays

As Indian carriers have lined up over 550 new aircraft for deliveries over next six years, more parking bays are being planned.

Published: 10th November 2016 09:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th November 2016 06:56 AM   |  A+A-


An IndiGo Airlines aircraft prepares to land as a man paddles his cycle rickshaw in Ahmedabad. (Reuters)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: As Indian carriers have lined up over 550 new aircraft for deliveries over next six years, more parking bays are being planned by the government at airports nearest to the over-crowded and clogged metro airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata airports.

The development comes in wake of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) conveying its concern to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) concerning over-crowding of aircraft at these metro airports. It has pointed  out that Indian carriers are adding more aircraft to their fleet, which is creating shortage of parking space at these metro airports and also creating operational problems leading to flight delays. According to a DGCA official, Indian carriers are expected to add at least 63 new and leased aircraft by December 2017.

What’s more worrying for the DGCA is that it has allowed 21 percent more flights from the last year for the winter schedule, which started on October 30 and would continue till March 26 next year. DGCA approved a total of 16,600 flights per week to be operated by domestic carriers compared with 13,744 flights during the winter schedule last year.

The Airports Authority of India, which is a state-run airport developer and operates 125 airports across the country, of which 77 are functional -- has been assigned to assess the requirement for developing more parking space at airports nearing these metro airports. A senior government official said in case of Delhi, the nearest airports where parking bays for aircraft could be developed are at Jaipur, Lucknow, Amritsar or Chandigarh. 

An official explained that few more parking bays would be developed at either one or two airports around metro airport.

The decision in this regard will be taken after discussing the issue with Indian carriers and leading foreign carriers which fly to various international airports in India, he added.

An official explained that this as domestic carriers will deploy more planes and as most of them have their hub -- base for operations -- at these four metro airports,  it would further create constraints for parking space for aircraft at these airports. Additionally, there has been a growth of 23.17 per cent in air passengers growth between January - September 2016 period with 726.98 lakh air passengers against 590.21 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year.

There are around 455 narrow and wide bodied planes with Indian commercial carriers, which fly on domestic and international routes. And this, the official pointed out is one of the concerns as this would lead to clogging of these metro airports.

The four metro airports Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai account for over 60 percent of domestic air traffic and roughly 70 percent of international air traffic.

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