The runway revamp work at Indore airport, which is scheduled to start from February 15, may either be postponed or carried out during the night as airlines are asking the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to allow flights to operate the whole day in view of the one-month long Simhastha fair.
The re-carpeting work of 9,000 feet runway is scheduled to start from February 15 and end by mid-June, while Simhastha will start from April 22. The state government expects nearly five crore people to take a dip in the holy Kshipra River in Ujjain over the one-month period. While majority of the pilgrims are expected to come by train or by road, thousands are expected to arrive by flight via Indore.
The airport management has cited technical reasons behind choice of summer months for runway revamp work. The decision to operate the airport from 12 noon to midnight and close it for flights in the morning hours was taken in consultation with the company doing the revamp work.
“The re-carpeting of the runway was overdue and has to be done in interest of aviation safety. Talks are underway between the AAI and airlines officials over the time schedule as they want flights to operate the whole day. If we postpone the work, then it will not be possible to carry it out during monsoon or during winter and so a whole year will be wasted. The most likely scenario is that the work will be carried out during the night hours,” Indore airport director Manoj Chansoria told HT.
The summer months are conducive for the work as the molten mass (surface material that has to be laid) is heated to 150 degrees Celsius and then rolled before it cools down below 100 degrees C. A furnace has been installed on the airport premises for this purpose.
The Indore airport management, after consulting the headquarters, had taken a decision to carry out re-carpeting of 9,000 feet runway between 6 am and noon, which will affect seven or eight morning flights, Chansoria said.
The managements of upscale hotels are also worried about the runway re-carpeting work schedule due to which all the morning flights will have to be cancelled.
At present, 22 regular flights operate from Indore airport daily apart from chartered and private planes.