NEW DELHI: A recent incident of an Indigo Airlines aircraft averting a mishap at the Jammu airport has revealed how unsafe the airport is for the landing of a bigger aircraft.
Almost all airlines, including Kingfisher, Air India, Go Air and Spicejet, are operating an A320 or a B737 for their flights to Jammu and Srinagar. However, retired aviation observers have sighted how the runway is too small for this aircraft and additionally so given the bad weather and a series of construction activities taking place at the airport.
“The runway is not long enough for A320 and B737 operation. It is surprising that no one has pointed this out until now. But, what is more disgusting is the attitude of DGCA officials who say that it is a defence field and they don’t have to do anything. Jammu does not have the ‘Runway End Safety Area’ (RESA), which is a mandatory ICAO requirement,” aviation observer Capt Ranganathan told the Express.
An A320 or a B737 aircraft requires a code 4c runway, a length calculated on the basis of elevation, temperature etc along with the available length of runway. Capt Ranganathan presented calculations which showed that the runway length in Jammu fit only the code 3c standard.
“Even the full length is insufficient for A320 and B737 if you apply the mandatory 60m strip and 90m RESA, making it highly unsafe. If the runway is wet, it is positively dangerous,” Capt Ranganathan said.
On November 10, the visibility reported at Srinagar was 1800m and the approved minima for the ILS approach is 2200m. However, an Indigo flight 554 had landed and took off with the weather conditions below minimal, misusing the ‘Approach Ban’ criteria.
Even at the Srinagar Airport, both sides of the runway are dug up and have concrete slabs. Besides, there is a pit at the beginning of the runway.