Mumbai airport has to be the worst that exists in any major city in the world. With two runways that crisscross each other, arrivals and departures are severely constrained. Add to that the increasing stories of near misses on the ground and in the air that keep filtering through.
In addition, of late, these runways have been getting some work with the result that the airport is actually shut down every Tuesday between 12 noon and 6 pm. Believe that? Mumbai — “India’s answer to Shanghai” — has its airport shutdown for 6 hours during the day once a week.
The result is that almost every arrival and departure is delayed. My 6:10 am flight to Chennai took off around 6:45 am. Airlines have aded 10-15 minutes to their schedules for Mumbai.
Of course, the airport cannot expand since a significant portion of its territory is occupied by voters who cannot be moved. A new airport is nowhere on the horizon.
Mumbai airport has been privatised. But just building or refurbishing the terminals is not enough. We need to make the whole travel process more efficient. In that chain, the runways are the weakest links. Amazingly, we don’t seem to have any way to fix that.
So, we are resigned to our fate. And we bear it stoically and silently.
PS: Don’t get me talking about the approach road to the Bandra train terminus. We never learn.