KIA runway to be upgraded to CAT-III, BIAL issues EOI

KIA runway to be upgraded to CAT-III, BIAL issues EOI

The painting work on the second runway and the taxiway will go on until July 25.

Catering to the rapid rise in passenger traffic at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), its operators have proposed to upgrade the existing runway.

BIAL on Thursday invited Expression of Interest (EOI) from reputed Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to execute the work.

The upgrade will commence once the second runway becomes operational by late October or early November this year. The existing runway and its associated taxiways will get its much-needed Instrument Landing System (ILS) upgrade from CAT-I to CAT-III.

Flight disruption due to fog has been a perennial problem at KIA as the runway has only a CAT-I ILS. Here, the pilot of an approaching aircraft will have to see the runway surface markings from a distance (Runway Visual Range – RVR) of more than 550 m (1,800 ft).

The Decision Height (DH), (the decision to land or not land) should be taken at an altitude of over 60 m (200ft). However, once the runway is upgraded to CAT-III, the RVR will reduce to about 200 m (around 700 ft) and the DH will drop to less than 30 m (100 ft).

Since visibility drops to almost zero during early morning hours in the winter, hundreds of flights are delayed. Passengers are often stranded for hours at the airport. Aviation experts have often questioned the rationale behind going ahead with only a CAT-I runway when the airport became operational in 2008.

Second runway painting

Meanwhile, work on the second runway is progressing fast to begin trials by the end of September. After levelling and asphalting, the painting work on the runway and taxiways has been scheduled till July 25. Once this is completed, ILS and all other airfield lighting works will be taken up.

The additional works, including cabling, friction tests with vehicles fitted with specialised equipment, are likely to take another two months, an airport source told DH. Trial landings are expected only after completion of these critical works.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will have to inspect the new runway and give its final go-ahead before commercial operations begin.

The second runway, called the New South Parallel Runway (NSPR), besides being ILS CAT-III-B compliant, will also allow landing of Code F aircraft such as the massive Airbus-380. The facility will be 4,000 m long, complemented by dual-parallel taxiways and an Eastern crossfield taxiway.

Once both runways are upgraded, the number of Air Traffic Movements (ATMs inclusive of both landings and take-offs) will increase to 90 per hour. This is expected to push airlines to introduce more flights to and from Bengaluru.