KIA second runway: Only 90-min operation on Day 1

All set for the commercial launch on Thursday, the New South Parallel Runway (NSPR) of the Kempegowda International Airport is likely to be operational only for 90 minutes in the afternoon. But this will be a defining moment for India’s third busiest airport, gearing up for a massive upgrade.

Since only one of the two NSPR cross taxiways has been completed, the runway will handle only departures initially. The second taxiway is expected to be commissioned by December-end. However, airport sources indicated that the construction could be delayed.

It is learnt that the first commercial flight take-off from the new runway will depend a lot on the weather conditions. A Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) has mandated that no flight should be operated if the visibility is below 5,000 metres.

Unlike the existing North runway, NSPR is equipped with CAT-IIIB Instrument Landing System (ILS), implying that flights could potentially operate even at near-zero visibility. However, for the first few weeks, the new facility will only employ its CAT-I capability.

But the new runway will have to stabilise by March 2020 with its full capability as the airport operators have proposed to upgrade the existing runway over an eight-month period. Effectively, KIA will once again be back as a single-runway airport between March and October 2020.

Wide-bodied aircraft

Besides ILS, the new runway’s capability to handle wide-bodied Code-F aircraft will also have to wait. Sources referred to an internal communication that no aircraft of the size of Airbus A380 will be permitted to land or take off from NSPR between December 5, 2019 and December 5, 2020.

However, sources said this may not be practical as Luftansa already operates a Boeing 747-800 daily flight on the existing runway.

The NSPR, permitted to handle only narrow-bodied aircraft initially, will have to scale up to wide-bodied flights at least by March 2020.

The 4,000-metre NSPR is 60m wide, inclusive of two shoulders of 7.5m on either side.

Once fully upgraded and operationalised by October 2020, the two runways is expected to be ready to meet the high Cumulative Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of passenger traffic at KIA. 

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