To save fuel and taxiing time, the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), in coordination with the air traffic control (ATC), plans to use separate runways for the various terminals.
The decision was taken after several airlines complained of fuel wastage because of longer taxiing to get to the runways assigned to flights.
For flights operating from Terminal 3 (T3), the nearest runway is 29-11, which was commissioned in 2008. So, for these, most advantageous take-off and landing would be at this runway. Similarly airlines at Terminal 1 (T1) will use runways 1 or 2 (9-27 or 10-28).
At present, the airlines, which operate from T1, said they burnt more fuel in taking aircraft to the taxiway after landing at runway 29-11.
Also, after landing at runway 29-11, aircraft had to cross an active runway to reach the T1 building. There were times when a pilot had to wait over 15 minutes to cross runway 2, as they require ATC permission for it, said a source.
According to the DIAL, these changes would be put into place after Air India, Kingfisher and Jet Airways shift their operations to T3 by November 14. After that, only low-cost carriers such as Indigo, Spicejet and Go Air would use T1. These low-cost carriers will use runway 1 and 2 to save fuel and time.
“Airlines which used to complain of long hovering time, started complaining of long taxiing time after the third runway was commissioned at Indira Gandhi International Airport," said a source at the airport. "But there was no other option. Now, as most of the operations will take place from T3, there would not be any more complaints of long taxiing time."
According to airport sources, it took at least 45 minutes for an aircraft to reach apron area (where the aircrafts are parked while boardings and deboardings occur) if it landed at the third runway, especially if it operates out of T1.
“We prefer to land at runway 28-10 instead of runway 29-11 because the average time to reach to the taxiway from the runway 28-10 is about three minute, while from 29-11 it always takes more than 30 minutes. But now since we are shifting to T3, there is no problem in landing at new runway,” said a Kingfisher official, who did not wish to be identified.
No end to suffering for AI passengers
On Monday, more than 90% of Air India flights were delayed by at least an hour. This is the ninth consecutive day ridden with problems for the passengers of the airline.
An Amritsar-bound flight, AI 188, was held up for over seven hours, said a source at the airport. Passengers of another Air India flight, to Chennai, too, had to wait after getting their boarding passes.