Although the Puducherry airport has a runway that is long enough to support ATR-72 flights, aircrafts are now forced to run at less than full capacity since the airport does not have approval to operate ATRs at full capacity.
The Bombardier Q-400 aircraft, which is currently being used here, has a capacity of 72 passengers. At present, the aircrafts that are landing in the airport cannot carry more than 52 passengers (58 if there is less baggage).
The problem is that there are some issues with the strength of the runway. Only if the runway is sufficiently strengthened will the ATR-72 flights be able to receive approval for full load landing, Project in-charge of the Puducherry airport, K. Gunasekaran told The Hindu .
A proposal had currently been sent seeking permission for the strengthening of the runway. Once the approval was received, the work would begin.
Further, there were a few infrastructure developments that needed to be implemented at the airport, including a fire station. The Puducherry airport had currently acquired all the necessary equipment for a category six fire station.
Although they had the required two heavy vehicles and one standby vehicle, so far there was no shed for the equipment, which was necessary for the category six approvals.
There was also a proposal to increase the height of the Control Tower to 14 m and improve the Technical Block.
In all, the estimate for stepping up infrastructure was Rs. 13.5 crore, Mr. Gunasekaran said.