According to the Airports Authority of India’s aeronautical information publication supplement, the north runway of Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport which is currently undergoing repairs are going to be operational on March 25,
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 are often administered using the combined capacities once the primary runway reopened. Incidentally, the airport is also the sole Indian airport to possess two parallel independent runways, which may work simultaneously.
However, the old runway won’t be upgraded to the CAT IIIB (Category 3 aircraft landing Systems for low visibility conditions) just 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 supported pre-COVID-19 traffic demand. However, based on the result of stakeholder consultations and considering the drop by traffic because of the pandemic, the north runway, currently under refurbishment, will remain CAT I compliant.”
“Besides, as long as 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 aeroplane landing with visibility as low as 50 metres and take off at 125 metres. Previously, the permissible visibility was 550 metres and 300 metres, for landing and take-off, respectively.