Parul Sharma

Presently commercial operations on new runway carried out in a phased manner

Third runway will allow aircraft to land even when the visibility is as low as 50 metres

NEW DELHI: Even as the new runway at Indira Gandhi International Airport here seems besieged with teething problems preventing it from being fully utilised, airport developer Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) is optimistic that operations will stabilise by December.

The third runway was not used for most part of Monday due to “reconfiguration” of the instrument landing system. It also witnessed some lighting problem last week due to fluctuations in power supply from the Mahipalpur grid.

However, the GMR Group-led DIAL has said that the situation will change before the advent of the fog season, which is when the third runway will be needed most since it is equipped with CAT III-B instrument landing system at both the ends allowing aircraft to land even when the visibility is as low as 50 metres.

“The smooth functioning of the third runway depends on the right interface between the instrument landing system, runway visual range and surface movement radar facilities. Since the work is still being carried out, we expect the coordination among the three to be completely achieved by December beginning. The runway will be fully functional then,” said a DIAL official.

At present commercial operations on the new runway are being carried out in a phased manner. The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation, the Airports Authority of India and other stakeholders have been notified.

“In the first phase, the new runway is being used from 6 a.m. to 1-30 p.m. It is being used for arrivals, while the departures are taking place from the two old runways. The usage depends on the wind direction. There have been times when landings have been on the primary runway and departures from the third runway,” the official added.

Meanwhile, the airlines’ concern of additional taxiing time from the third runway to the domestic terminal remains an issue.

“The inbound taxiing time to the terminal after the aircraft lands on the third runway has gone up by 20 minutes,” rued an official of a private carrier.

“Additional taxiing time is better than the aircraft hovering over the airport. That’s because hovering consumes much more fuel compared with taxiing which is on low power,” said another official.