Mumbai: More than 2,000 flight operations will be hit at Mumbai airport as both the main as well as secondary runways of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) are shut for five hours for nine days beginning Monday through 28 November for surface repairs.

CSIA said they will be closing down the only main runway (No 09/27) as well as the secondary runway (No 14/32) for five hours on 31 October, 3 , 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24 and 28 November, which is likely to affect as many as 2,100 flights.

The runways will be shut from 12pm to 5pm, the airport added.

“On an average there are 45 air traffic movements an hour. So a five-hour shutdown means 225 movements could be hit," the airport operator Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd (MIAL) told PTI on Monday.

None of the airlines responded to queries on the impact on their operations. Ironically, despite being the nation’s second busiest airport, the CSIA has only one main runway (as one-third of the airport land is occupied by slum squatters who are refusing to move out into newly built apartments) and yet manages around 50 flights during peak hours, making it one of the most efficient airports in the world.

In November 2010, the airport operated by the GVK group, had conducted similar repair work, months after it opened the spanking new terminal-T2 in February of that year. Operations were partly hit between 18 October to 31 October for four hours between 12pm and 4pm for seven days on alternate days, as the main runway was closed for surface repair. But it kept the secondary runway (14/32) open during these hours, a MIAL official had said earlier.

But beginning Monday, operations would be completely shut for five hours from 12-5pm on the specified days in the second phase of repair work, an airport official with knowledge of the matter said, adding that this is needed as the repair work involves inter-section work.

In total, the airport will be shut during these hours for nine days, while in the first phase the main runway was partially shuttered for seven days between 18-30 October, the official added.

On an average, the Mumbai airport handles over 800 flights a day. Against this the Delhi airport, with three runways, handles around 78 flights during peak hours.

“The runways—09/27 main and 14/32 secondary—will remain closed between 12-5pm on Mondays and Thursdays till 28 November, to conduct ‘preventive runway surface work’, a technology to fill in gaps on the runway," the airport had said last month advising airlines to reschedule their operations.

To avert inordinate delays, airlines made alternative schedules and also some of them like Indigo has waived cancellation and charges for flights affected by the closure, while Jet Airways is offering re-accommodation on alternate flights wherever necessary

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