AAI invites bid for the 600m-stretch that connects the apron to the runway

Mangalore International Airport is getting future-ready to handle back-to-back flights without much time-break. At present, aircraft that are ready to take off will have to wait for 10 to 15 minutes if their departure timing clashes with a flight that is about to land. It has to wait till the arriving plane completes its course on the runway and rolls into the parking area (apron) at the terminal building. This is set to become a thing of the past.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to construct a taxiway at the airport to avoid departing flights to wait for taking off. The parallel taxiway will connect runway to the apron.

Now, the single-runway airport has only one taxiway that is used for both for entry and exit from the runway. Once the parallel taxiway is ready, there will be separate and fixed entry and exit paths.

Director of the airport J.T. Radhakrishna explained time factor. Once an aircraft is cleared for landing, no aircraft will be allowed to take off and will be held up on the apron. After landing, any aircraft would take at least three minutes to reach the apron. Then the procedures for clearing a waiting aircraft to take off begin. By the time it is allowed to move total of 10 to 15 minute would be lost.

When the 600-metre taxiway is ready a departing flight can move till the end of it, wait there and enter the runway as soon as the arriving aircraft is off the runway. “The parallel taxiway will particularly help in the long run when the number of flights increases in the airport,” he said. Mr. Radhakrishna said that the AAI has invited bids for constructing the parallel taxiway at an estimated cost of Rs. 35 crore. The 600-metre-long and 23-metre-wide taxiway will have to be completed in 20 months after awarding the contract.

He said that the AAI has requested the State government to hand over 260 acres of land to extend the runway by 1,130m from 2,400m. When the runway is extended to 3,530m, the airport can handle larger aircraft (such as 747) having a carrying capacity of maximum 400 passengers. Now aircraft operating at the airport can carry a maximum of 180 passengers.

Meanwhile, at a press conference here on Tuesday, Minister B. Ramanath Rai said that the government will hasten the process of land acquisition for extending the runway.

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