From August 28, planes hovering over the congested Indira Gandhi International Airport would be a thing of past. On that day, commercial operations will start on the airport’s new runway and a new navigational system would also be implemented to bring down distance between aircraft. These measures are expected to double IGIA’s per hour flight handing capacity.
At present, the two runways handle 35-40 landings and take-offs during peak hours and the large number of flight movements meant aircraft had to hover above the airport for 45 minutes on average till recently.
Though congestion has now come down due to flight cuts and the ongoing lean season, there is still an average hovering time 15 minutes on certain days. Airlines had started levying a congestion surcharge of Rs 150 on air tickets due to fuel burn, which still continues.
Trial runs on the new 4.4 km long runway have been advanced from August 15 to 21 and normal flight operations would start from August 28, just in time for the peak season that starts from September.
“The runway is now ready and when all three runways of the airport would operate simultaneously, 60 flight movements would be possible per hour. Air traffic congestion would be history at IGI Airport from August 28,” said a senior official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
On the same day, AAI is planning to start the new performance-based navigation system (PBNS). This navigation system would help to bring down the present separation of 5 nautical miles (nm) between airborne planes to 3 nm, allowing more landings and take-offs.
“The implementation date for both is August 28 and we expect both would start the same day. While all international airlines have been notified about the new system, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation would now certify their aircraft and pilots to use the system,” he said.
The PNBS would increase the number of flight movements by 25-30 per cent, which means per hour flight movements at IGIA would go up to 75.