India’s top six airports, including the two biggest hubs of New Delhi and Mumbai, are now home to about 80% of the civilian aircraft that have had to remain on the ground since the authorities enforced a blanked flying ban last week to help contain the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
“Indian carriers have around 650-odd planes in their fleet and parking for these airplanes is not a problem. All airports together, including the government-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) airports, can handle many more planes,” said a senior AAI official, who did not wish to be named.
Airport officials said that Delhi airport itself has parking bays for about 196 aircraft and Mumbai has place for about 100 aircraft.
Data sourced from industry sources and flight tracking portals show that at top six airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai — 538 of the total 650 aircraft are parked.
Sources, however, added that planes are also parked at one of the runways at Delhi airport, which is the only facility in India that has three runways.
“During operations, planes are used for domestic operations during the day and same planes are then used for international operations at night.
So, at any given time, the number of parked planes is not high, as airlines would also want to keep flying these planes,” said an airline executive.