Mumbai Airport has been forced to transfer all its flight departures and arrivals to one Terminal. This is due to a combination of rising cases of Covid-19 across India, coinciding with a drop in Air Passenger Traffic. Consequently, all domestic and international flights at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport will operate from Terminal 2 only, as of 21st April 2021, thereby resulting in the temporary closure of Terminal 1.
Recent Recovery Reversed
This is considered to be a notable setback for the Airport, having only reopened both its Terminals as recently as 10th March 2021, at a point when Air Passenger Traffic was steadily rising, witnessing levels of above 300,000 passengers a day. This had resulted in Airlines cancelling Pilots’ Annual Leave, in order to service the significant passenger demand. However, in recent weeks, passenger numbers have plummeted to 236,000 a day.
It is now anticipated that the reopening of Terminal 1 could take several months, given that Mumbai is currently witnessing over 9,000 Covid-19 cases per day. Furthermore, Airlines that were operating regularly out of Terminal 1 will witness a reduction in their operations. One of the irony’s of operating out of Terminal 2 only, is that this in itself could lead to more overcrowding, thereby resulting in the absence of social distancing, which in turn could lead to a rise in Covid-19 cases.
The Airport’s Owners, Mumbai Airport International Limited, maintain their commitment to driving down Covid-19 cases and expediting the recovery of its Airport Operations once again. They said: “During challenging times, Mumbai Airport has been working closely with stakeholders and regulatory and government bodies to curb the spread of the virus. The Airport is strictly adhering to guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Government of Maharashtra.”
Indeed, Airlines Load Factors (number of passengers onboard an aircraft as a percentage of the number of passenger seats available) will witness a significant ‘load-off’ for at least the current quarter.