BANGALORE: For all you busy air travellers, here's information that explains your frustration at Indian airports. Forbes' list of the most delayed
arrival airports in the world for 2008, in association with FlightStats, tracks historical and real-time flight information. Of the top five airports, three are in India — Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, at No. 1, Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, at No. 2 and Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), Bangalore, at No. 4.
The percentage of on-time arrivals at Mumbai airport was 49.95%, at New Delhi was 50.89% and in Bangalore, it was 60.16%. The Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco, occupied the No. 3 slot with an on-time arrival performance of 53.83%.
The report states that at Mumbai's airport, 58% of late arrivals in 2008 were delayed by 30 minutes or more, and at New Delhi's airport, more than 60% of flights were at least 30 minutes late. The good news is that no Indian airport figures in the top 10 delayed departure list. Haneda airport in Tokyo tops the list of combined on-time arrival and departure.
"Indian airports are bound to face heavy congestion as the aviation growth in India has been unprecedented. In 2007-08, the aviation growth in India was 28.8% as compared to the global industry growth of 4% to 6%," says an analyst at KPMG. Similarly, for 2006-07, the country's aviation industry grew at around 25% as compared to the global growth of 5%.
But analysts also point out that current air congestion over Indian skies could have been avoided if the early warning signs of this boom were noted at the beginning of 2003.
The navigational services and systems at most Indian airports are outdated by over decades when compared to other airports worldwide.
Some experts said the Mumbai and New Delhi airports were expected to see more air congestion as both are undergoing expansion. Experts also say it's not correct to assess the new Bangalore airport's performance, as it has been open only for seven months.
Responding to the report, BIAL, the promoters of BIA, point out that air congestion at Bangalore is largely due to delays of flights from their origin. There are over 50 flights a day connecting Bangalore to Mumbai and New Delhi. "The departure on-time performance at BIA is around 80%," says a BIAL official.
Devesh Agarwal, an aviation expert, says: "The fog this winter, however, has repeatedly exposed the lack of a robust and needed Cat II or higher ILS at BIA. As per FlightStats data, on January 7, BIA managed a miserable 54% and 23% on-time departure and arrival, when compared to 67% and 63% at the new Hyderabad airport."