Sunday, November 25, 2012

Airports Authority of India yet to set new deadline for Patna runway

PATNA: The authorities of Jaiprakash Narayan International Airport here are yet to receive the new deadline to use the existing runway beyond November 30.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had last month extended its decision to re-notify the runway length of Patna airport to November 30. This was the fourth time in three months that the AAI had decided to extend the implementation date of its notice to airmen (NOTAM), initially issued on August 4.

Given the obstructions in the vicinity of the airport, the AAI had, on August 4, issued a NOTAM reducing from August 16 the landing distance available (LDA) which would have made the airport unfit for operation of wide-bodied jets like Airbus-320 and Boeing 737.

According to the revised length of runway (from Phulwarisharif end) will be 1,141 metres instead of the earlier 1,677 metre. Similarly, the runway from the Patna zoo end will now be 1,289 metres instead of earlier 1,820 metres. Aviation sources said the minimum runway length required for Airbus-320 and Boeing 737 aircraft to land is 1,540 metres and 1,790 metres respectively. The AAI found that Patna airport, which already had a short runway length, had 101 obstructions on either side of the tarmac which were dangerous for aircraft landing.

Patna airport director Arvind Dubey said, "Considering the progress of work on removal of obstacles, earlier higher authorities have decided to extend implementation of restriction plan from October 31 to November 30. But we have not received any communication till now regarding any extension of the deadline."

According to another airport official, "Though the 600-odd identified trees in the adjoining Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park had been pruned according to the need, some more remain to be trimmed along the Phulwari railway track and in the graveyard. Besides, light posts at the graveyard, some water tanks atop residential buildings and two mobile towers must be also removed."

"The state government wants the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to issue orders for the removal of obstructions on private land under the provisions of the aircraft (demolition of obstruction caused by building and trees, etc) rules, 1994," he said.

Now, the only option is either to re-notify the revised runway length prescribed by AAI or ask the airlines to fly Airbus and Boeing aircrafts to the nearest airport in Gaya or Ranchi and transfer the Patna-bound passengers by smaller aircraft.

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