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 IGI’s main runway in urgent need of repair

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Location : Kuwait / Fort Lauderdale / Delhi / Mumbai
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PostSubject: IGI’s main runway in urgent need of repair   Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:46 am

New Delhi: It’s official now. Passengers taxiing on IGI Airport’s main runway (28) have long complained of a bumpy ride despite having their seat belts fastened, similar to the experience of driving on a potholed road. On Friday, a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) team carried out a surprise inspection of the runway and found it severely degraded at many places — with pits common on the 12,000 feet-long airstrip.
‘‘Runway 28 (that’s visible from the famous jumbo point) has been the trusted and most reliable warhorse of IGI. There is no real record of any major repair in the past except for some recarpeting. This was not due to any oversight but the fact that there was no option other than to keep using this runway,” said a top official.
“So the required maintenance had to be postponed many times. Now that a new runway (29) is in place, the time has come for giving 28 its much overdue recarpeting,’’ the senior official said.
Several pilots said that the ride quality on IGI’s main runway was very poor but still prefer it over the newest airstrip. ‘‘Given a choice, we still prefer to land on 28 due to its proximity to the domestic terminal and the fact that its landing systems have been more reliable than those of 29,’’ said a senior commander.
The GMR-backed Delhi International Airport (Pvt) Ltd (DIAL) has been seeking clearance to close this runway since last year. It got tests conducted on the runway last year by some international agencies and the verdict was for recarpeting the airstrip.
However, having the most reliable instrument landing system on 28 meant that the authorities wanted this runway to be closed only after the fog season of 2009-10 was over.
The DGCA’s directorate of aerodrome standards may allow runway closure soon now that the regulator has for itself seen how years of overuse have left the airstrip degraded.
IGI has three runways and once 28 is closed the newest (29) and the shortest (27) will be pressed into service. But Delhi witnesses a fairly large movement of small private planes of both big corporate houses and charter companies. These aircraft are slowmoving and take a long time to fly in and then clear the runway.
So shifting this traffic to 27 and 29 will mean slowing movement of big commercial aircraft there and adding to the problem of a constrained capacity with 28 out of action.
‘‘Aviation minister Praful Patel has asked DIAL to examine the possibility of doing the recarpeting of 12,000feet-long runway 28 in two phases and see if a 6,000feet-long area is available for use of smaller planes like ATRs and those of corporate houses. All these options are being studied,’’ said a senior ministry official.

STOPGAP: With the new runway 29 now fully operational, IGI will, in all probability, close runway 28 for re-carpeting

Source: Times of India

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IGI’s main runway in urgent need of repair
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