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Extended runway ready at Coimbatore Airport

V.S. Palaniappan

Instrument Landing System installations planned

— Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

All set: The extended runway will enable the operation of aircraft without load or fuel restrictions.

Coimbatore: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is ready to operationalise the extended runway at the Coimbatore Airport. It now runs to 9,760 feet and is capable of handling wide-bodied and “fat-bellied” aircraft, especially those operating on the international sector.

Airport Director K. Hemalatha told The Hindu that the runway, which was earlier 2,590 metres (8,500 ft) in length, had been extended to 2,990 m (9,760 ft) at a cost of over Rs. 9 crore.

The airport has been growing for the last few years, registering record rates of increase in passenger and aircraft movement. Passenger movement has increased from 8.7 lakh in 2006-07 to 11 to 12 lakh in 2007-08.

Aircraft movement rate has reached an all time high of 29 landings and 29 take-offs. The revenue of the airport has increased from Rs. 22 crore in 2006-07 to Rs. 29 crore in 2007-08.

The airport now hosts three international services to Sharjah, Singapore and Colombo. More international and domestic airlines and cargo freight operators have evinced an interest in operating from here.

Airport officials have written to the AAI headquarters about putting the extended runway into operation. Ms. Hemalatha confirmed that the extended length was ready.

Arrangements were being made to shift the glide path equipment closer to the runway.

Lighting

In addition, the authorities were gearing to erect the threshold and approach lighting that would guide aircraft while landing. These should come up at the funnel, that is, at the approach point of the runway, to guide pilots during touchdown.

Even before erecting the threshold and approach lighting, the authorities were ready to test the extended runway during daytime operations.

Instrument Landing System (ILS) installations and modifications have also been planned.

Though there are no critical obstructions, a physical survey by AAI staff has pointed out 14 or 15 obstructions in the 400 m area near the extended runway which could be removed or altered in due course, official sources said. These would not come in the way of operationalising the runway, official sources said.

With the extended runway, airlines can operate aircraft types such as 747 SP, A 330, 747-300B, 747-300 ER, 747-400 and 747-200.

The extended runway would enable the operation of aircraft without load or fuel restrictions. Such restrictions are imposed on shorter runways considering the haul-up weight of aircraft.

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