Relief for flyers as Mumbai Airport’s runway repair to end this Saturday

Relief for flyers as Mumbai Airport's runway repair to end this Saturday
While passenger bore the brunt of cancelled flights & soaring fares for last two months, over 600 workers worked tirelessly to re-carpet 50,000 sq.m area along the runway intersection (Representational Image, Courtesy: philstar.com)

After bracing several cancelled flights and soaring airfares, Mumbaikars can expect some relief during their next air travel as the two-month long runway repair work is scheduled to end this Saturday.

Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, is among the busiest single runway airports in the world. However, for six hours a day and three days a week, flight movements were halted to carry out crucial repair work.

While the airport has two runways, they cross each other and only one of them can be used at any given time. The only section of the runway that is always in use is the intersection – the area that was under maintenance this time around.

To carry out the repairs, all flight movements were halted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 11 am and 5 pm from February 7 to March 30.

During the closure, 50,000 square metres area along the intersection was re-carpeted at a cost of Rs 100 crore. Asphalt produced at 200 degrees centigrade was brought to the site in 100 or so trucks and laid at 170-150 degrees centigrade by 600 workers.

According to reports, such intensive repair work will not have to be carried out until 2027. Since Navi Mumbai airport is expected to be ready by that time, the city isn’t expected to lose 24/7 connectivity anytime in the near future.

Given that the airport handles around 1,000 flight movements per day, the repair was necessitated due to the wear and tear of the asphalt surface, caused due to jet blasts, rubber deposits, weathering action among other reasons.

During each landing, aircrafts like the A320 and B737 deposit 3-5kg of rubber on the runway and double-decker A380 deposits around 15-18kg. While the deposits are removed daily, the scrapping wears off the surface, thereby requiring re-carpeting.

The last six-hour maintenance window will end at 5 pm tomorrow and round the clock connectivity will resume from Sunday.

During the closure, an estimated 230 flights were cancelled, affecting around 35,000 passengers.

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