Bengaluruâ€™s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) resumed round-the-clock flight operations on Monday after a part of the runway was closed for maintenance.
The runway had been closed from February 17 to April 30 between 10.30 am and 5 pm to upgrade the existing runway with rapid exit taxiways that allow aircrafts to exit the runway faster. This had led to most airlines reducing and rearranging their flights between the stipulated period to accommodate the runway closure.
â€śNow that KIA has the rapid exit taxiway (RET), aircraft can exit the runway faster, freeing the space for more air traffic movement,â€ť a KIA press release stated.
It is estimated that every 90 seconds, an aircraft can take off or land. Previously, an average of only 34 aircrafts could take off or land on the runway in an hour. However, this runway will be operational only from September 2019.
Although the airlines had been informed in advance about the partial closure, the cancellation of several flights created problems for passengers, particularly those travelling at short notice.
Earlier in 2012, the runway had been completely closed for resurfacing work. However, such a closure was not possible this time as KIA has become the countryâ€™s third busiest airport with 22.88 million passengers, after Delhi and Mumbai.
During the last financial year, the KIA had recorded 1,78,117 air traffic movements, which amounts to about 500 movements per day. During the closure period, work on a second runway had started.
KIA wants to make the new runway ready for trial by March 2019 and operational by September that year.
The capacity upgrading of the existing runway is about 45 movements per hour, and this will be adequate till 2019. The upgrade will be fully completed by July/August.
The new runwayâ€™s 60x15 metre shoulder will boost its pavement strength to ensure smooth landing of heavier aircraft such as Airbus 380. The current runway, although ready to handle A-380 operations, has a limit as it is only 45 metres wide.