Wait ends as KIA to get second runway boost in 3 days

The new south parallel runway. (DH Photo)

Eleven years and six months after its commercial launch, the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) is all set to get its first major upgrade on December 5 – a second runway, with the promise of a dramatic jump in flight operations and a partial relief from fog-related disruptions.

Since the existing runway is equipped only with a Category-I (CAT-I) Instrument Landing System (ILS), poor visibility during winter disrupts hundreds of flights every year. However, the new south parallel runway is likely to address this issue only sometime by late February 2020.

Airport sources explained that the new runway had to be stabilised progressively, first with CAT-I ILS, then with CAT-II and eventually with its full capability of CAT-IIIB. By January, the new runway is expected to switch to CAT-II, coinciding with a spike in intensity of fog disruptions. Currently, the runway is fitted with CAT-IIIB lighting.

Incomplete taxiway

The new runway’s efficiency is likely to be limited initially as only one of the two cross taxiways has been completed. The second taxiway connectivity is expected to be established only by the end of December 2019. This would mean only landings or take-offs would be possible initially on the second runway.

On August 27, validation flights were completed on the runway. The flights certified the aerodrome navigational aids and instrument procedures as determined by civil aviation regulations. SpiceJet, IndiGo and AirAsia had assigned their aircraft to take part in these test flights.

Measuring 4,000 metres in length and 45 metres in width, the new runway is equipped to handle even Code F aircraft such as the massive Airbus 380. Complementing the new facility would be the dual parallel taxiways and an eastern crossfield taxiway.

Almost two years in the making, the runway work involved 16 million cubic metres of earthwork, cutting, filling and grading. The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has estimated that one lakh metric tons of boulders and 40 MT of aggregates had to be relocated. Although Code F capable, the new runway is unlikely to see any Airbus 380 land on it anytime soon. But airport sources did not rule out the possibility of Emirates bringing one of its big jets in the future.

Once the new runway stabilises, the existing runway will also get an upgrade to CAT-IIIB status. Eventually, both the runways will be used for independent mixed-mode operations. This will allow flights to take off and land from either runway.

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