Aviation fuel pipeline will be realigned in 10 days to make way for Metro Rail

The coming week, Chennai airport will witness increased traffic of a different kind — that of fuel tankers.

And this is not good news for the thousands of motorists who ply on the already-congested GST Road on a daily basis.

In order to facilitate Metro Rail work near the airport, the Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) pipeline will have to be realigned. And while that happens over the next 10 days, tankers will transport fuel from Manali to the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) station in the airport premises.

This, airport officials say, will increase traffic in the vicinity. Airport director H.S. Suresh said: “Traffic congestion caused by Metro work is inevitable. But in order to ease the congestion, we have moved the prepaid taxi stand to the open space in front of the new domestic terminal.”

The IOC pipeline, from Chennai Refineries in Manali to the airport, covers a distance of 50 km and carries nearly 70 per cent of ATF supplied to the airport.

It was commissioned in 2009, before which the entire supply was through tankers that caused heavy traffic congestion in the airport premises. It is also an unsafe mode of transporting the fuel, an official said.

Also in the offing is the installation of an airport fuel hydrant system at the airport, the contract for which has been awarded to IOC. The system will enable direct transportation of fuel from the airport storage tanks to the aircraft parking bays.

“Since the realigned pipeline will run across the airfield, it is better to use underground hydrant lines to transport ATF to the aircrafts rather than have tankers running across the tarmac,” Mr. Suresh said.

Also, reduced use of diesel tankers will help to bring down emission of particulate matter, nitric oxides, and carbon dioxide, an expert said.

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