Trial run at Delhi airport’s new runway from Aug 21

August 11th, 2008 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) Delhi airport’s third airstrip - Asia’s longest at 4,430 metres - will undergo a trial run from Aug 21, a top airport official said Monday. The decision was taken after a surprise visit to the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport here by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Kanu Gohain and his countrpart at the Airports Authority of India (AAI) K. Ramalingam Aug 9.

“They were satisfied with the progress of work at the airport,” said I. Prabhakar Rao, the chief development officer at Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), the company developing the IGI airport here.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is expected to be present during the trial run of the third runway, named 11-29.

“An Air India aircraft will land on the new runway without passengers. Other carriers too are expected to follow. We expect commercial operations from the third runway soon after the trial run finishes,” said Rao.

Maintaining that the runway construction was almost complete, he said: “The navigation equipment has been installed by the AAI. The runway lighting systems are one of the most advanced in the world.”

DIAL has completed procedural checks by the DGCA, the aviation regulator, and the Central Industrial Security Force will de deployed during the trial run, Rao said.

The new runway will also have advanced instrument landing system, which allows aircraft to land in visibility as low as 50 metres. DIAL upgraded several new aircraft parking stands to meet this standard.

The runway construction involved 2.3 million metric cubes of earthwork and embankment filling. “That is enough to form a 210 km long freight train. The runway is more than two metre thick, comprising seven layers of filling, concrete-treated base and asphalt concrete,” said Rao.

Over 650,000 tonnes of asphalt concrete has been used, which, according to the DIAL official, could have built 75 km of six-lane expressway.

“We have adopted eco-friendly methods during the construction of the runway and the taxiways. We have extensively used fly-ash in concrete and other cement-based material,” he said.

The new runway is expected to nearly double the airport’s peak hour capacity from 35-40 aircraft movements currently to about 75. Currently, the two existing parallel runways handle nearly 700 flights a day.

Yet, the hovering time, which has come down with measures such as adding rapid exit taxiways that allow aircraft to move away from the runway faster, and reducing time between two flight take-offs, is still about 20 minutes.

“We are conducting a study for upgrading the main runway (28-10) and another runway adjoining the new runway,” Rao said.

DIAL is yet to decide whether the new runway will be used just for international flights or domestic or both.

The real benefit, according to it, will be visible in 2010 when most airlines move to the new terminal building that is being built along the third runway.

By end-2010 or early the next year, four international carriers - Emirates, British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France - may start their A380 service to New Delhi from Dubai, London, Frankfurt and Paris.

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