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India's longest runway opens
August 21, 2008 19:03 IST
Last Updated: August 21, 2008 19:09 IST
The Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Thursday got the longest runway in the country which is expected to end congestion for the capital's domestic and international flights.
The third runway at IGI will allow the airport to double the number of flights it handles every hour with one flight taking off or landing every minute.
Air India's Boeing 777-300ER (extended range) aircraft was the first plane to land during the test flight of 4,430-metre runway.
The runway, christened 29/11, has CAT IIIB instrument landing system (ILS) on both Dwarka and Vasant Kunj sides which will allow aircraft to land even when the visibility is as low as 50-metre.
Delhi will be the only airport in the country to have three runways with CAT IIIB facility on two runways.
The 4,430 metre Code-F complaint runway can handle the wide bodied aircraft like Airbus A-380 and Antonov AN-225. The trials will continue till August 24 and it is likely to be opened for commercial operations from August 28.
The runway built by Delhi International Airport Ltd, a GMR Group-led joint venture consortium mandated to operate and modernise the IGI Airport under the public private partnership initiative, has been completed in record 18 months, six months prior to its schedule.
A massive 2.3 million cubic metres of soil was removed for laying of 650,000 tonne of asphalt -- enough to build 75-km six-lane expressway.
With the use of modern technologies, the runway has a surface glass grid laid under the concrete to prevent cracks from emerging.
Costing about Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion), the runway is likely to nearly double the airport's peak-hour capacity from 35 to 40 landings and take-offs to about 75. Currently the two existing runways handle nearly 700 flights a day.
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