The north runway was closed for repairs in June 2020.

Bengaluru airport runway
news Transport Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - 17:19

The north runway of Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport which is currently undergoing repairs will be reopened on March 25, according to the Airports Authority of India’s aeronautical information publication supplement. Currently, the airport is functioning with only the second or the south runway. This information was published by the AAI to inform all stakeholders including private airlines about the development. This runway was closed for operations in June 2020 after functioning non-stop for a decade. 

Airport officials had earlier said as many as 90 take-offs and touch-down in one hour can be carried out using the combined capacities once the first runway reopened. Incidentally, the airport is also the only Indian airport to have two parallel independent runways, which can work simultaneously. 

However, the old runway won’t be upgraded to the CAT IIIB (Category 3 Instrument Landing Systems for low visibility conditions) like the second runway, as announced earlier. 

An airport spokesperson said, “BIAL (Bangalore International Airport Limited) initially evaluated installation of the CAT III B facility for both runways at Bengaluru Airport based on pre-COVID-19 traffic demand. However, based on the outcome of stakeholder consultations and considering the drop in traffic due to the pandemic, the north runway, currently under refurbishment, will remain CAT I compliant.” 

“In addition, given that low visibility situations are limited at Bengaluru Airport to limited periods in the year, one CAT IIIB runway should suffice for seamless operations in the near term,” the spokesperson added.

The second runway also known as the south runway had marked its first commercial flight landing on March 19, 2020 while take off operations had already begun in December, 2019 itself. This runway is CAT IIIB compliant. The first such landing was recorded on January 21, 2021 under foggy conditions after visibility dropped to 200 metres.  

Airport officials had earlier said that CAT IIIB system allows the airport to facilitate aircraft landing with visibility as low as 50 metres and take off at 125 metres. Previously, the permissible visual range was 550 metres and 300 metres, for landing and take-off, respectively. 

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