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New road to free land for secondary runway

The Airports Authority of India (AAI)’s plan to extend the secondary runway of Calcutta airport on one side may finally take off, courtesy the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA).

The agency has decided to build a 1.5-km road connecting Kaikhali and Narayanpur off the airport, freeing nearly 6.6 acres where AAI plans to extend the runway.

The existing artery cuts through the AAI land and unless an alternative road is laid, the AAI can’t go ahead with the extension.

Of the Rs 5.2 crore required for the project, the AAI has agreed to pay Rs 2 crore in phases — apart from leasing out 25,000 square metres of land — and the state transport department will chip in with the rest.

“Work is scheduled to begin in August and should be over in six months. After that, the AAI can start extension of the secondary runway,” said Debdas Bhattacharya, the director-general of the traffic and transportation department of the CMDA. The airport authority has been pressing with its demand to extend the secondary runway since the beginning of the year. The primary objective is to accommodate an Airbus A-380, for which the 2,400-m runway needs to be increased by at least 840 m.

“Once the land becomes available, the congestion on the runway will reduce. This is vital, given the increase in the volume of air traffic,” said S.P.S. Bakshi, the executive director (projects) of the airport.

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