Runway-2 trials by Mar '19

Runway-2 trials by Mar '19

Excavation work picks up pace, runway to be 60 metres wide

Runway-2 trials by Mar '19
Gearing up for a massive upsurge in passenger numbers, the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) operators have proposed to get the second runway ready for trials by March 2019.

This will be just in time to take the load off the existing runway, being upgraded now to meet the higher-than-anticipated traffic growth.

Passenger traffic had touched a whopping 22.18 million in December, the 2016 calendar year growth spiking to a record 22.5%. The existing runway, with its finite capacity to handle the rising number of aircraft movements per hour, will be saturated by 2018-19, Hari Marar, President, Airport Operations, BIAL, told DH.

Work on the second runway and upgradation of the current runway had commenced in mid-February. Once the trials are completed, the second runway will be operationalised by September 2019, said Marar. “The existing runway handles 34 movements/hour. The capacity will be enhanced to 44 movements/hour. This will be adequate upto 2019.”

The new runway’s 60m width and 15m shoulder (7.5m on either side) will boost its pavement strength adequately to ensure smooth landing of heavier aircraft such as the Airbus 380. The current runway, although ready to handle A-380 operations, is limited by its 45-metre width.

But the new runway will stand out for a different reason: Its vastly improved Instrument Landing System (ILS) with Category-3B (CAT-3B), so critical for landing and take-off operations even with a visibility of 350m.

Poor visibility triggers massive flight disruptions at KIA, with the problem aggravating during winter. The existing runway has only Category-I ILS that requires a runway visual range (RVR) of 550 metres.

Did BIAL not foresee the visibility issues linked to a lower grade ILS runway? “When the first runway was planned, a study on the weather patterns in Devanahalli indicated only two-three days of fog in a year,” Marar explained.

It was not financially viable to invest in the expensive CAT-3 ILS for such short durations. But over the last eight years, weather patterns have changed so drastically that on 10 to 20 days every year, foggy conditions reduce visibility to near zero.