The Civil Aviation Ministry on Tuesday said the decision to cut flight movements and enhance curfew on private jets at Mumbai airport has been taken in the larger public interest from the perspective of airspace safety, efficiency of operations and passenger satisfaction.

While restrictions on private jet operations have increased from four to eight hours daily, flight movements in peak hours have been cut from 46 to 44 and from 44 to 42 in the non-peak hours due to severe congestion.

“The Government of India realises that it needs to step in to strike a balance between the needs of both the airport operators and airlines, while ensuring that passengers have a fulfilling experience while flying from Mumbai airport,” the ministry said in a statement.

Mumbai airport is the second busiest in the country, with 950-plus daily flights. But a single operating runway system has led to constraints — slot availability is limited. Thus congestion at Mumbai airport has been leading to delays and even diversions.

In order to remedy the air space congestion, an analysis was conducted by Airport Authority of India. “While Mumbai Airport is running at full capacity, it was found that persistent congestion was caused due to excessive slot distribution with limited time margins on behalf of the airport operator, non-adherence to the slots on behalf of the airlines, and non-scheduled operations during peak hours,” the Ministry said.

“The airport operator being the slot provider as well as the manager of slots to the airlines, should have proactively taken steps to streamline and regulate air traffic movements to resolve this problem. However, since no such action was initiated by them, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has had to step in,” it added.