KIA records first landing on new runway

KIA records first landing on new runway

Old runway to be closed for upgrades by March-end

Representative image. (DH File photo)

The new south runway of the Kempegowda International Airport recorded its first landing with the arrival of a SpiceJet flight SG497 on Thursday. So far, only take-offs were permitted on the new runway, which was operationalised on December 6, 2019.

The SpiceJet flight landed at 9.41 am. “With all regulatory clearances, the south runway is now equipped to handle both arrivals and departures,” a Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) spokesperson said.

With the full operationalisation of the new runway, BIAL is now working with multiple stakeholders to commence rehabilitation of the old north runway. Airport sources told DH that the old runway could be closed sometime in the last week of March for upgrade. This project is expected to take at least 10 months.

The opening of the new runway in December had helped KIA emerge as India’s first airport with independent parallel runways. The new runway is 4,000 m long and 45 m wide with two shoulders of 7.5 m on either side.

The old runway’s upgrade to a CAT-IIIB Instrument Landing System (ILS) for improved visibility during fog would mandate a complete resurfacing.

Currently, the runway lacks the centre-line lighting for an upgrade that will allow flights to land and take off even in low visibility.

Equipped with only CAT I ILS, the runway had triggered mega disruptions ever since the airport’s commercial launch in May 2008. Hundreds of landings and take-offs were delayed every year, causing massive hardships to passengers.

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