New runway becomes operational

New facility: An view of the new 10,000-ft runway at Visakhapatnam airport.

New facility: An view of the new 10,000-ft runway at Visakhapatnam airport.  

Special Correspondent

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Indian Navy on Wednesday put into operation the 10,000 feet long new runway at the airport here. First a Dornier aircraft took off and landed on the runway and later in the day Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command R.P. Suthan went to Trivandrum in an IAF Avro aircraft which took off from the new runway.

“The complete operationalisation of the runway will become a reality in phases, over the next few weeks, with the initial operations being limited to the day and good visibility conditions only. The operating hours are also being extended up to 5 p.m. from July 1 as requested by the civilian operators,” said a spokesman of the Navy.

The Dornier took at 8.30 a.m. and landed back 15 minutes later. This was a historic flight and was watched by Vice-Admiral Suthan, other officials of the Navy, MES and Airports Authority of India, the spokesman said.

The new runway 10/-28 was made operational by the Indian Navy against many odds and Vice-Admiral Suthan congratulated Commanding Officer of INS Dega G. Prakash and General Manager (projects) of AAI H.S. Suresh and their teams for making the new runway operational. The runway would facilitate landing of bigger aircraft here making air travel more comfortable and speed up development of the city and region.

Expansion plan

A team of experts from the Navy and AAI would be keeping a close watch on the safety and operational aspects of flying operations. The Rs.192 crore airport expansion plan, a major part of it funded by the Defence Ministry, consists of many facilities like the new 10,000 feet runway, instrument landing system (ILS) and other night-landing aids.

The draft instrument approach landing procedures the AAI had circulated require to be amended as it was yet to install the distance measuring equipment, an important equipment, the spokesman said.

The equipment was expected to be installed soon and flight operations during night and poor visibility conditions would be allowed after the amended instrument approach landing procedures were approved and promulgated by the Director General of Civil Aviation.

Night operations are also linked to the additional manpower being sanctioned by the Government.

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