Welcome to CSMIA Mumbai!
ICAO: VABB || IATA: BOM
Elevation: 11m / 37ft
This is a comprehensive and easy guide for pilots and controllers wishing to fly and/or control at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai.
Mumbai is the second-busiest airport in India after New Delhi (VIDP), and the 28th busiest airport in the world. It is famous for the renowned Terminal 2, which won the Airports Council International’s “World’s Best Airport” award in 2017, and the “Best Airport in Asia-Pacific” award in 2020. Terminal 2 also hosts a unique art museum, with several valuable pieces of Indian art. It is the focus hub for Air India (shared with Delhi), Vistara, AirAsia India and Go First (formerly GoAir).
VABB has three terminals used for passenger traffic, and one terminal for cargo operations:
Terminal 1 is used for domestic passenger traffic only. Locally nicknamed by residents as “Santacruz Airport,” it originally consisted of two ‘halves’ - Terminal 1A and Terminal 1B, or the ‘domestic’ terminals. These two terminals have now been consolidated into one single domestic terminal. It is located at the western end of the airport, just north of the 09 end of Runway 27/09.
It is shown in Infinite Flight below:
The erstwhile Terminal 1A building consists of Gates A11 to A01 and the erstwhile Terminal 1B building consists of Remote C20 to Remote C10. It is worth noting that these gates are not actually ‘remote’ and are in fact, in front of the building. There are also some more actual ‘remote’ gates which are used for domestic airlines. In the past, Terminal 1A used to be used exclusively for the domestic flights of Air India, Indian Airlines and Alliance Air.
Most airlines have shifted to Terminal 2 for operations, especially after Jet Airways, one of India’s largest airlines, suspended operations. Mostly low-cost airlines now operate from Terminal 1. In Infinite Flight, we have the IndiGo A320 with the callsign “Ifly” and the AirAsia A320 to operate from T1 with the callsign “Red Knight.” We also have the Jet Airways 737 and SpiceJet 737, which used to operate from this terminal before they shifted to T2, if you want to relive legacy flights from this terminal. Side note: the ATC control tower is also located very close to Terminal 1.
The current list of airlines operating from Terminal 1 are as follows (as of April 2021):
- Go First (formerly GoAir) - Star Air - TruJet - AirAsia India -IndiGo (flight numbers 5500 to 5999)
Terminal 2 is used for both domestic and international passenger traffic. Locally nicknamed by residents as “Sahar Airport,” It has been awarded multiple times as one of the best airports in Asia, and the world. It was opened in 2014, replacing the old terminal building, which had been long overdue for redevelopment. It has up to 78 passenger boarding gates, along with some remote stands.
It is an ‘X’ shaped terminal, shown in Infinite Flight below:
All international flights operate from Terminal 2 - whether they are India-based airlines or foreign ones.
Domestic operations were commenced with Vistara, and soon, most domestic airlines shifted their operations to Terminal 2. This process was further advanced when Jet Airways suspended operations, and most domestic airlines used the slots vacated by Jet Airways. IndiGo only shifted some of its operations to T2, whereas Air India, SpiceJet and Vistara moved all operations to T2.
For realism, the right side (eastern half) of the X is used for narrow-body domestic operations, while the left side (western half) is used for international operations. An exception is made on the western half, starting from Gate V44, which is used for Air India and Vistara wide-body domestic operations. An illustration is given below, kindly provided by @RadarVectors_Mumbai denoting , and
red for domestic operations :
A full list of airlines that operate from Terminal 2 is given below (as of May 2022):
- Air Arabia - Air Canada - Air France - Air India - Air India Express - Air Mauritius - Air Seychelles - Air Tanzania - AirAsia X - All Nippon Airways (ANA) - Alliance Air - British Airways - Cathay Pacific - Egyptair - El Al - Emirates - Ethiopian Airlines - Etihad Airways - FlyDubai - Gulf Air - IndiGo - Iran Air - Iraqi Airways - Kenya Airways - KLM - Kuwait Airways - LOT Polish Airlines - Lufthansa - Malaysia Airlines - Malindo Air - Nepal Airlines - Oman Air - Qatar Airways - RwandAir - Saudia - Singapore Airlines - SriLankan Airlines - Swiss International Air Lines - Thai Airways International - Thai Lion Air - Thai Smile - Turkish Airlines - United Airlines - VietJet - Virgin Atlantic - Vistara - Yemenia
The GA terminal is located right at the old RAF Santacruz military base, today called the Kalina Military Camp. It is used for private jets, non-scheduled operators and VIP movement. It is mapped in Infinite Flight below:
The GA terminal is located on the southwest portion of the airport, literally across the road from Terminal 1, on the south side of Runway 27/09. Being located next to a military camp, there is also a spot for Indian Air Force aircraft, marked in in the above screenshot. Air India’s maintenance hangars are also located there.
In Infinite Flight, you can use any non-light private aircraft or private jet to operate from this terminal such as the Citation, the BBJ, the ACJ, or even the TBM. You can also use an Indian Air Force aircraft or a fighter of your choice to operate from the IAF portion of the apron.
Being an important center of trade and commerce, as well as India’s most important port, Mumbai has an Air Cargo Complex located just west of Terminal 2. It is capable of handling five wide-body aircraft, and is shown in Infinite Flight below:
The cargo terminal contains a Center for Perishable Cargo, and is in joint custody of Mumbai International Airport Private Limited (MIAL) and Air India. A list of cargo airlines that operate to and from this terminal are given below:
- Aerologic - Atlas Air - Blue Dart Aviation - China Airlines Cargo - Cathay Pacific Cargo - Emirates SkyCargo - Ethiopian Airlines Cargo - FedEx Express - Fits Air - Garuda Cargo - Lufthansa Cargo - MASkargo - Qatar Airways Cargo - Quikjet Airlines - Saudia Cargo - Sichuan Airlines Cargo - Singapore Airlines Cargo - SpiceXpress - Turkish Airlines Cargo - UPS Airlines - Uzbekistan Airways Cargo
There are also some remote stands towards the southeast, near the approach end of Runway 32. These are currently used as long-term parking spots, especially for jets whose operators have been suspended or dissolved. In real life, you will find a few dusty A320s of the erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines, and some Jet Airways aircraft parked there for the long-term.
Let’s look at a little information for the runways at VABB:
|27/09||3,660m (12,008 ft)||60m (200 ft)||Yes|
|32/14||2,990m (9,810 ft)||45m (148 ft)||Only on Runway 14|
As you can see, VABB has two runways, but only uses one at a time. Simultaneous multiple-runway operations were stopped in 2013, when it was found that single-runway ops led to more efficient traffic handling.That gives us four possible configurations for takeoff and landing:
This is the main runway end at VABB, and used pretty much all the time. Most of your landings and departures will be from here, unless you wish to simulate a runway maintenance closure, or the winds are extremely unfavourable. It has a Cat II ILS approach and a displaced threshold as well. All of this increases the favourability of the runway end, and hence it is used the most.
This runway end is used when winds blow from the east, which happens sometimes during the winter months (December-February). It’s a wonderful approach from over the sea.
A word of caution: do not mistake the airport at Juhu (VAJJ) for VABB, if you’re doing a visual approach from this end. VAJJ has a similar but much shorter runway configuration (26/08, and 16/34). Airliners have landed there by mistake previously and overrun the runway, in real life (see the Japan Airlines 472 incident)
This runway is used under three conditions: when Runway 27/09 is closed for maintenance; when the winds strongly favour the runway heading; and when the visibility is good. This is the only runway not to have an ILS approach at VABB, and pilots can only use the VOR approach. The minimums are higher, and there is also a large hill right in the middle of the approach path. In Infinite Flight, Runway 32 should only be used if two out of the three of the conditions are met.
This runway too, is used only when Runway 27/09 is closed for maintenance and the winds favour the runway heading. However, unlike its other end, it does have an ILS approach, and can be used for low-visibility operations.
As only one of these is used at a time, taxiing and ground operations become relatively simple. Runway crossings can be given freely, without having to worry about traffic landing or taking off from the runway that is being crossed. However, caution should also be exercised as there are currently no land-and-hold-short lines in Infinite Flight between the runways. When using the inactive runway as a taxiway, care should be taken that the aircraft doesn’t inadvertently stray into the active runway.
SIDs and STARs for VABB are available in Infinite Flight. For the full, detailed charts, you can visit this site here:
Important Navigation Note: In Infinite Flight, the STARs usually end up right above the airport itself at the BBB VOR. Until procedure turns and holds are defined properly into Infinite Flight, care should be taken while following SIDs at VABB to remove the BBB waypoint and enter the correct altitudes for an approach, otherwise you’ll find yourself too high and too close to the airport.
VABB has ILS and VOR approaches available for all runways, except for Runway 32 which only has a VOR approach.
For the main runway (27), there are two ILS approaches available - one with a DME arc (ILS 27 Y), and one without a DME arc (ILS 27 Z). For all other runways, a DME arc is necessary. In actual practical sense though, ATC will usually vector you, rather than you having to fly an entire DME arc by yourself.
You can find all available approaches for VABB at this link here:
Minimum Vectoring Altitudes
I would like to call special attention to this chart here, on the last page of the above link:
These are the minimum vectoring altitudes per sector for VABB. For IFATC radar controllers, and for pilots, this is very important to know, as there are several hills around Mumbai. The area around Mumbai is generally rather bad in terms of visibility, and you could easily have a CFIT accident (controlled flight into terrain) if you don’t keep at or above the MVAs depicted here.
Also, for the sake of realism, the area outlined in red (VED 14) is a ‘danger’ area, and should be avoided flying over if possible. The little red circle (VAP 2) is a ‘prohibited’ area and should be avoided at all costs.
Important Navigation Note: Some of the approaches, notably the ILS 27 Z approach, start from the BBB VOR and involve a long procedure turn on to final. However, as procedure turns and holds are not well-defined in Infinite Flight, if you are flying on autopilot, care should be taken to fly the approach without the BBB VOR at the beginning, otherwise you’ll find yourself too high and too close to the airport, and unable to make a proper turn.
This guide has been brought to you by @CaptainSooraj
I hope you enjoyed this guide, and feel free to provide any feedback, concerns or comments below, so I can make this guide as useful as possible. This guide will be updated regularly with real-life news at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. Have a great day!