Secondary runway's inadequacy exposed

Published: 08th July 2016 04:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th July 2016 04:53 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: The helplessness of the Chennai Airport in operating the secondary runway came to the fore on Wednesday evening when 10 wide-bodied aircraft were diverted to Bengaluru as the main runway was paralysed after a private jet got stranded on it after losing its nose wheel.

While the Airport Authority of India (AAI) was able to tow the aircraft and replace the headlights, which were damaged after the Larsen and Toubro’s 10-seater jet damaged its nose wheel by around 1 am, the issue remained that the airport was unable to handle wide-bodied aircraft, once the main runway was closed.

Airport director Deepak Shastri said that the Airport Authority of India was in talks with the Tamil Nadu government for acquiring 14 acres of land to create facilities for wide-bodied aircraft on the secondary runway.

The secondary runway, which is now operating 24x7 for more than two months, can only cater to A-320 aircraft.

As part of modernisation, the runway was to be extended up to  3,400 metres. Currently, it is 2,800 metres.

Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has ordered an enquiry into the incident. The enquiry would look into whether it was a pilot’s error, technical error or infrastructure limitation.

It will also assess the damage and also fix the responsibility.

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