Today I read the METAR for Mumbai airport (VABB) and it goes like this

VABB 180730Z 23007KT 3000 HZ NSC 28/14 Q1013 NOSIG

Here the wind is 07 knots from 230, so if they used the main runway number 27 that is primarily used, they would have a headwind component of 5.4 knots and crosswind of 4.5 knots.

Instead, from this morning (5:30 UTC approx) onwards they are using runway 32, which would result in all the takeoffs and landings having a straight 7-knot crosswind.

What could be some reasons for them using runway 32 instead of 27?

I don't think any runway maintenance is going on for runway 27, so we can rule that out.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ A 7 knot crosswind component is entirely inconsequential to airline operations. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Jan 18 at 10:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ See also the answers to this question. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Jan 18 at 10:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I would have expected them to prefer 09/27, which is the longer runway. $\endgroup$ Jan 28 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


There are many things that go into the selection of which runway to use beyond the crosswind component. Those things include but are not limited to:

Noise Abatements: Some airports have noise abatement procedures with the local area preventing overflight at certain times. Runways may be dictated by that when possible.

ATC: Controllers may chose a particular runway for ground or air traffic flow reasons.

Scheduled Work: Runways get a lot of hard abuse and need to be inspected and maintained, its possible runways were switched (and one closed) for routine work like inspections for debris, light bulb changes, painting, sealing or paving.

Length: In your case they actually moved to the shorter runway but in many cases runways may be changed to allow for larger aircraft.

Wind: All aircraft can land in a cross wind up to some practical limit that limit varies by aircraft and testing but 7Kts is pretty low across the board. ATC may change runways when the cross wind component exceeds limits for the aircrafts in question.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I think there could be some work, it's not noise abatement because it doesn't exactly happen regularly. $\endgroup$ Jan 18 at 14:47

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