Flight share plan for new Mumbai airport still up in the air


July 19, 2011

By P.R. Sanjai

The bidding process for the Navi Mumbai international airport, which is expected to open in 2014, will start by August, but the government is yet to decide on how flight traffic will be shared between Mumbai’s old and new airports—an inadequacy that could hurt its prospects of attracting the interest of developers.

Traffic allocation is critical for the viability of a second airport that is being built within a 150km radius of an existing one. It will give developers a sense of the potential of the forthcoming airport...

...Vikrant Vaze, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who specializes in operations research and aviation, said that if there is no traffic allocation and airlines are allowed to schedule as many flights as they want at these airports, delays and congestion could reach unacceptable levels.

Vaze explained that most US airports continue to function reasonably well without slot controls because demand does not exceed their capacities. “But at airports where demand significantly exceeds capacity, some form of congestion control is absolutely essential. Administrative slot controls is one possible mechanism for congestion control,” he said. Dividing the available slots at an airport, known as administrative slot controls, across different airlines is a very commonly used strategy for congestion control at airports, according to Vaze.

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