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Construction of CAT IIIB-compliant airstrip 28/10 to be completed this week: Jyotiraditya Scindia
Photo Courtesy: PIB

Construction of CAT IIIB-compliant airstrip 28/10 to be completed this week: Jyotiraditya Scindia

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 18 Jan 2024, 02:34 am

New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday said that the construction project for rehabilitating Delhi Airport's CAT IIIB-compliant airstrip 28/10 is set to be completed this week, media reports said.

In a letter to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on January 16, GMR Airport communicated that Delhi airport aims to finish all runway maintenance activities by January 19, in preparation for inspection by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Moneycontrol reported.

The original deadline for completing the runway maintenance was December 15, but due to pollution and the enforcement of GRAP-IV in Delhi, the project experienced delays, said the minister.

“…the maintenance was taken on top priority to be completed by 15th December before the onset of the fog season. However, due to pollution incidents and enforcement of GRAP-IV in Delhi, the recarpeting got delayed, resulting in a delay of one month in its commissioning. The revamped RWY is getting operational this week,” said Scindia in a tweet.

Delhi Airport has informed the aviation ministry that the runway would be functional by January 26.

Right now, Delhi Airport has four runways, with two of them equipped with CAT III capabilities, which enables flight operations even in low visibility conditions.

Currently, one CAT-III enabled runway is operational, while the other is undergoing maintenance.

According to the communication from Delhi Airport to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), work on the fourth runway commenced after the G20 Summit.

However, the execution faced challenges due to disruptions in the supply chain for raw materials needed for civil works, due to the implementation of GRAP-IV.

The completion of the runway maintenance is expected to provide relief as numerous flights are getting cancelled and delays caused by dense fog in the Delhi-NCR region. In an unusual incident on January 14, a passenger physically assaulted an IndiGo pilot following a delay of more than 12 hours.

The 28/10 runway at the airport has been closed since September of the previous year, has faced setbacks.

The initial plan to resume operations in the last week of December has been postponed twice.

Delays in the installation of the ground lighting system on the runway were experienced, attributed to constraints faced by the manufacturer Honeywell in importing the lights.

Airfield ground lighting plays a critical role in aircraft navigation during approach, on the runway, and on taxiways, especially in low visibility and nighttime conditions.

On January 14, more than 500 flights at the airport were behind schedule due. to poor visibility to nearly zero between 3 am and 10 am.

The flights could not take off, as 125 meters is the required minimum visibility for take-offs.

The situation was further worsened as the landing on runway 29L/11R in low visibility conditions was affected due to the presence of a crane used by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the construction of a highway, the report said.

"The crane was being used for the construction of another critical infrastructure project - the Dwarka Expressway. However, in view of its impact on the runway, it has now been decided that the crane operation shall be allowed only on non-fog days. Thus, RWY 11R/29L is operational as CAT III as of yesterday," Scindia said in a tweet on January 17.

He added that the two CAT III runways at Delhi Airport have the capability of minimum visibility landing of up to 50 meters.

"However, the majority of the aircraft fleet in India viz. Airbus 320 (75 mtrs) and Boeing 737 Max (175 mtrs) have visibility minima greater than the runway threshold. Thus, even if the runway is capable and sufficiently trained CAT III pilots are made available, these aircraft are not designed for Zero Visibility operations," Scindia said.

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