Wednesday, August 31, 2022

After 11 years, runway over Adyar to cater to wide-bodied aircraft

Chennai: Nearly 11 years after building its second runway over the Adyar river, Chennai Airport is finally going to use it to cater to wide-bodied aircraft. A total of 194 obstructions, including 90 buildings, would be removed so that the runway can be used by large ‘Code-D’ and ‘Code-E’ aircraft.

Currently, only 2,100 metres of the 2,890-metre-long runway is being used. Clearing the obstructions would free up 780 metres more, according to sources. International Civil Aviation Organisation has classified aircraft under different codes based on their size. Code-D aircraft, including Boeing 767 and Airbus A-310, have a wingspan of 36-52 metres, whereas Code E aircraft have a wingspan of 52-65 metres. Currently, the second runway caters to only Code-C aircraft like Airbus A-320, Airbus A-321 and Boeing 737-700, which have a wingspan of fewer than 36 metres.

Work on the second runway, worth `450 crore, began in 2009 with the construction of a bridge on the Adyar river and was completed in 2011. However, many obstructions prevented it from meeting specific standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Chennai Airport Director Dr Sharad Kumar said while the primary runway, which is 3.66 km long, was catering to wide-bodied aircraft, the secondary runway could not be put to use for such aircraft because of the obstructions like 90 buildings, constructed beyond permissible height; 102 mobile phone towers; poles; and trees.

Chennai Airport can currently handle 36 aircraft an hour. If both the runways are put to use, it will be able to handle around 45-50 aircraft an hour. Moreover, Chennai Airport has received 10.2 acres of defence land at St Thomas Mount for CAT-1 approach light system. The lights will help pilots identify the runway environment and align the aircraft. 

31/08/22 C Shivakumar/New Indian Express

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