Mangaluru, Feb 20, 2017: With the 2010 Air India Express crash at Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) still strong in memory, the Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) approval for construction of Phase 2 of the parallel taxiway (1,200 m) and grading of basic strip is expected to enhance safety by providing additional buffer strip, besides increasing overall flight-handling capacity.
Upon commissioning of the parallel taxiway on the south side, the airport’s flight handling capacity will be doubled from eight per hour to 16.
The buffer strip, which can reduce damage to aircraft during overshoot or undershoot or excursion of aircraft from the runway, will be expanded from the present 75 m to 150 m.
The parallel taxiway will be constructed at a cost of ₹98 crore in 30 months by PBI Construction Company. Taxiway is the stretch or the track connecting the runway with the apron (parking stand for aircraft).
Aircraft use the taxiway for entry and exist from the parking stand and runway. MIA has one taxiway at present used for both entry and exit of aircraft from the runway.
Work on phase 1 of the taxiway on the southern side of the airport (two parcels of 600 m each) is complete and is awaiting clearance from the Director General of Civil Aviation, said Airport Director J.T. Radhakrishna. Also, two new parking slots for aircraft are awaiting DGCA clearance, he said.
At present, the airport handles about 50 aircraft a day — 25 arrivals and 25 departures — at the rate of eight per hour. Phase I of parallel taxiway increases the handling capacity by four more aircraft per hour and phase 2 by another four aircraft.
The parking lot currently accommodates six aircraft at a time and with the addition of two more slots, eight flights can be handled, Mr. Radhakrishna said.
Two runways, old one at Bajpe side and new one at Kenjar side, commissioned in 2006, mostly handles passenger aircraft. The proposal to expand the new runway from 2,450 m to 2,740 m after the 2010 air crash appears to be jinxed as the State government is yet to make land available.
Air India Express Flight 812 (Dubai-Mangaluru) overshot the runway on landing on May 22, 2010, fell over a cliff and caught fire, killing 158 people on board. Only eight survived.