Mumbai airport to consolidate operations at Terminal 2

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) at Mumbai seems to be reverting back to single terminal operations. The airport had re-activated its Terminal 1 (T1) for flight operations effective March 10, 2021. T1 was closed for operations from March 25, 2020 when India went into a lockdown. While subsequently domestic air operations re-started on May 25, 2020 – the traffic numbers did not justify operating both terminals.

AirAsia India, GoAir, Star Air and Trujet had moved all domestic operations to T1 while IndiGo had moved 10 of its daily departures to T1. The airport will only see its T2 being operational from April 21, 2021.

When is the shift happening ?

IndiGo will move its 10 departures back to T2 effective today. AirAsia India will move to T2 starting April 21. In case of AirAsia India, the airline started operations to Mumbai – after multiple flip flops in the past, in January 2019. The operations were from T2. The airline shifted to T1 in October 2019. It found itself back at T2 in May 2020 and returns there again,

GoAir, Trujet and Star Air will also shift in batches (latest by April 21, 2021) so that T1 is closed again. Passenger numbers fell below the 2 lakh mark for the first time after 145 days on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. The capacity is currently capped at 80% of pre-COVID levels but Mumbai has been operating at below 70% levels all along and below 20% levels for international! 

Possible Reasons and what it means

When the airport was operating both the terminals to capacity, there were 165 departures from T2 and 164 from T1 per day. In March, the airport saw 219 daily domestic departures on an average. This number has further gone down in April. While it will still be more than the 165 domestic departures which were handled during the peak, the lack of passengers on a per flight basis and very limited international services mean that Terminal 2 is capable of handling more domestic departures than before. 

When CSMIA decided to re-open T1, the traffic was on an increasing trendline. However, traffic has plummeted over the last few days as the country goes through a deadlier second wave of COVID infections, requirement of negative RT-PCR and lockdown like conditions in many parts of the country. 

This would mean loss for retailers, lounge operators and food & beverage outlets at T1 and also for CSMIA. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) cateredto a total of approximately 50,91,730passengers and over 49,160flights across domestic and international destinations between January to March 2021. CSMIA witnessed the movement of over 5,21,570international passengers across 7,759 flights as well as approximately over 45,70,150domestic passengers over 41,407flights.

Network Thoughts

With flights being curtailed, few destinations may not have direct flights any more. Operations at a single terminal would mean passengers can hop on to connecting flights faster and the airport can save on expenses. 

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