Saturday, November 30, 2019

Kolkata airport to crunch space in sky to pack in more landings

Kolkata: The air navigation team at Kolkata airport is set to compress the space between two incoming flights to pack in more arrivals and departures per hour.
At present, arriving flights are required to maintain a minimum distance of 13km from each other in the sky as they queue up for touchdown. Controllers are working on an SOP that will reduce the separation to 11km. This will enable successive flights to land at shorter intervals.

“A maximum of 35 flights can operate in an hour at Kolkata airport now. By tightening the space between successive flight arrivals, planes can land at an interval of 3 minutes instead of 4 minutes at present. This will help us increase the hourly flight count to 42, thereby improving the runway efficiency by 20%,” said regional executive director (east) S P Yadav.

With one departure between two arrivals, the airport will be able to handle 28 arrivals and 14 departures an hour once the new SOP kicks in.

Airport capacity enhancement to come in handy as flights get added at a rapid pace

Airports Authority of India general manager (air traffic control) R S Lahauria said while Kolkata airport is not stressed at present, the capacity enhancement will come in handy as flights get added at a rapid pace. “All airlines want more slots in peak hours. If we put in place the new SOP, we can pack in more fights and meet the demand,” he said.

The decrease in separation will, however, mean less time for both pilots and controllers to take a decision and react in a dynamic scenario. It will also mean clear and precise radio instructions from controllers that pilots can immediately understand. The training of controllers is already underway.

“We have started trials that will continue for at least a month and a half. We expect to put the new procedure in place early next year,” said Lahauria.

Work has also begun on extending taxiway F that will save departing flights both time and fuel. It will also be a huge relief when the secondary runway is in operation because restrictions on taxiway A during this period reduces the handling capacity of the airport to 15 flights an hour.
30/11/19 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India
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