Saturday, May 11, 2019

Taxiway revamp hits Kolkata airport operations

Kolkata: Pre-monsoon repair work on taxiway K, which allows aircraft to swiftly enter or exit the primary runway, slowed down operations at Kolkata airport on Friday, triggering delays in flight departure and arrivals. However, the delays were up to 30 minutes, much less than Thursday when the problem had aggravated after two taxiways — K and A — were shut down. Some flights had to be diverted after they were delayed by nearly two hours.
“Work on recarpeting of secondary runway is under way. We have simultaneously taken up some pre-monsoon taxiway strengthening and repair work so that operations are not affected by craters in the taxiway during the two crucial months when Kolkata experiences heavy rains. This is causing some inconvenience to flights. The work will be completed by next week,” said Kolkata airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee.

The Airports Authority of India and airline pilots had discussed the shutdown in March and a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was subsequently issued so that incoming flights carried extra fuel to hover over the city till they get permission to land. But pilots complained that despite pleading with Kolkata airport authorities to shut down only one taxiway at a time, two taxiways had been closed on Thursday, leading to the problem. This severely curtailed efficiency of the primary runway as departing and arriving flights occupied the runway twice as long as they otherwise do.

Taxiway K that was shut on Friday allows aircraft to enter the primary runway just ahead of the point from where the takeoff run begins. With this shut, planes had to enter the runway and then backtrack to make the takeoff run. This increased the runway occupancy time per aircraft by a minute and thereby reduced the runway capacity to 22-25 flights per hour instead of 30-35 flights per hour.
11/05/19 Times of India
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