BENGALURU: The New South Parallel Runway of the Kempegowda International Airport, which only has restricted flight operations now, is all set to become fully functional from February 26, said aviation sources. A month after operations are stabilised, the North Parallel Runway which has been in operation since 2008 will close for upgradation works and open only after seven months.
According to the Airports Authority of India supplement notification issued on its website on January 30, runway RWY 09L/27R will be closed for rehabilitation works and for upgrading it from CAT I to CAT III. It will be effective from March 26 to November 4, 2020, it said. At present, the runway cannot operate during low-visibility conditions caused by dense fog as it is only CAT-I compliant and this drawback has messed up winter vacation plans of flyers for over a decade.
Meanwhile, the new runway (RWY 09R/27L) from which the first flight from Bengaluru to Raipur (Indigo’s 6E 466) took off on December 6 (a day behind schedule) continues to run highly restricted operations, said a senior aviation source. “The airport operator, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) needs to get clearances for operating flights 24x7 and has assured us that this would be possible by Feb 26. We will allow the simultaneous operations of both runways for a month so that the new one gets time to stabilise,” he added.
However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. “In case, some more time is required then the regulatory authorities will permit the old runway to remain open for some time so that flight schedules are not impacted,” another source said. As on date, it appears that the new runway will take much longer to become CAT-III compliant. “BIAL is yet to get our consent and they need to give us more details. Only when we get clearance for CAT-III, will they be able to operate flights even when visibility conditions are just 50 metres. It appears that they will begin full operation with CAT-I compliance only,” he said. Asked for its response, BIAL refused comment on the issue. The total Air Traffic Movements during the calendar year 2019 from KIA was 2,35,058 with 33.65 million flyers using the airport.