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Brace for flight delays

delhi Updated: Nov 06, 2009 00:43 IST
Sidhartha Roy

Air passengers could face flight delays at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport with the main runway being partially closed for repair.

The airport’s main runway 28 will be partially closed for for 15 days. It will be taken up for repair once the smaller runway 27 –s under maintenance at present – opens.

Though the IGI Airport has two other runways, runway 28 is its main warhorse and its partial closure will put increase the load on runway 29, which was commissioned last year.

The maintenance and recarpeting of runway 28 is long overdue and airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) wanted to completely close it for seven-eight months for complete resurfacing.

But with fog season knocking on the door, the main runway couldn’t have been closed for that long.

Maintenance work is expected to start from next week and continue for two weeks.

In the first week, the runway will be closed from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. and in the second week it will be closed between 12 noon and 3 p.m. and from 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

As runway 28 is close to the domestic terminals, domestic carriers will have to taxi an extra 9 km to reach runway 29 or use the smaller runway 27.

Runway 27 is closed for maintenance from July this year and is awaiting a clearance from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to open again.

It has been recarpeted and equipped with CAT I Instrument Landing System (ILS), which helps pilots to land in poor visibility conditions.

The runway had CAT I ILS at the 27 end (towards NH 8) but there was no ILS on the 09 side (towards Dwarka).

“On an average, there are 700 flight movements (landings and take-offs) from IGIA but we will have to manage with whatever resources we have,” said a senior Air Traffic Control Official on condition of anonymity.

“At 2.8 km, runway 27 is quite small and is not preferred by international airlines as they operate bigger aircraft.

Domestic carriers also prefer runway 28 over runway 29 as the latter is quite far from the domestic terminal,” he said.