New runway ready for trial
The private operator of IGIA has beefed up its work on the airport’s delayed new runway to make it ready for trial flights from August 15, reports Sidhartha Roy.Updated: Aug 02, 2008 22:23 IST
The private operator of Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), Delhi International Airport Ltd, has beefed up its work on the airport’s delayed new runway to make it ready for trial flights from August 15.
But the airport’s air traffic controllers (ATC) are reportedly too few and untrained to handle flight operations on the new runway.
A senior ATC said, on condition of anonymity, that, although commercial operations on the new runway were expected to start by October, ATCs were yet to be trained in the new operating system.
He added that ATCs were expected to know all details of taxiways to minimise chances of collision. The new runway will have at least 15 taxiways.
“We are already working under pressure,” he said. “Opening the new runway will force us to do extra duties.”
Sources pointed out that the current ATC strength at the airport is only about 200, while the actual number required for proper operations would be about 350.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which provides air traffic services at the international airport, is confident of managing operations comfortably, though.
“The ATCs have already undergone all the basic training, and orientation to the new runway would not take much time,” an AAI spokesman said, adding that there would be enough manpower by the time operations start on the runway.
If the promises made by the airport operator were fulfilled, the new 4.4 km-long runway should have been commissioned by now.
But the work on the runway is running behind schedule. While the civil work has been completed, technical instruments like lighting system, Instrument Landing System (ILS) and other communication and navigational equipment are yet to be installed, sources said.