Friday, August 25, 2017

Long way to go before Code E takes off from Calicut airport

Kozhikode: A joint team of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) may have given the green signal to commence operations of Boeing 777-200 aircraft at the Calicut airport.

But it is easier said than done. “We will have to start from the very beginning with an initial safety assessment meeting, a review of all stakeholders including airline companies,” airport Director J.T. Radhakrishna told The Hindu on Friday.

He said that a report relating to pre-execution work should be submitted to the AAI which in turn had to be approved by the DGCA. Tenders have to be invited for major electrical works for shifting the runway lighting, and approach light systems. “Possibly, the exercise will take about four months. But we have no plans to partially shut down the airport as the work can be carried out daily between 2.30 p.m. and 8 p.m., a period when the flight schedules are one or two,” he said.

Nevertheless, senior AAI officials said that the time required to complete the task varied between six months and one year. “Several rounds of meeting will have to be held with stakeholders on runway closure and rescheduling of flights. Normally, companies operate flights based on summer and winter schedules,” he said.

The existing 2,850-metre runway is not adequate for the operation of most of the wide-bodied Code E aircraft. “The AAI has projected additional land requirement for the extension of the runway, runway strip and associated pavements to make it compatible for the operation of wide-bodied aircraft,” he said.

In fact, the runway has to be reduced to 2,700 m in compliance with the Court of Inquiry recommendations for providing of Runway End Safety Area (RESA). The existing RESA on either side is 90 m. Its length should to be increased to 240 m.

Besides, the existing runway strip, meant to reduce damage to the aircraft in the event of an unintentional excursion from the runway surface, is just 75 m on either side while the actual requirement is 150 m from the centreline of the runway on both sides. “Thus the airport is operating with several exemptions, ” the AAI official said.
25/08/17 The Hindu