Patna, Aug. 5: Terming the Airports Authority of India’s (AAI’s) decision to reduce the length of the two runways at Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport an outcome of miscommunication, the state government today said it would send a fresh report to AAI on the obstacles removed from the air funnel expecting a review.
Principal secretary of cabinet coordination department Ravikant today told The Telegraph: “I believe there was a lack of communication from the AAI authorities in Patna and so Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued such a recommendation. Such a decision (re-notification of runway length) has been taken without verifying the facts. The state government has removed around 90 per cent of the obstacles falling on government property and the remaining obstacles would be removed within a week’s time. This is despite the fact that neither the DGCA nor the AAI set any deadline for the state government with respect to removal of obstacles. We will now send a fresh report covering the details on the work done till date regarding removal of obstacles to both the DGCA and the AAI. We expect that necessary rectification measures would be taken thereafter.”
AAI on Saturday re-notified the length of the runways at Patna airport taking into consideration the obstructions in the aircraft approach funnel. According to a notice to airmen (NOTAM), the landing distance available on runway 07 (Phulwarisharif end) has been reduced from 1,677m to 1,141m. The landing distance on runway 25 (on Patna zoo end) has been reduced to 1,289m from 1,820m. The take-off distance of both the runways has also been downsized. The revised runway length would make the airport unsuitable for operations of bigger aircraft like Boeing 737 and Airbus 320.
Confirming the issuance of a fresh notification, Patna airport director Arvind Dubey said: “The notification has been issued in accordance with the guidelines received from the DGCA.”
He said the new notification would come into effect from August 16.
The director refused to speak more on the issue, but sources said it would be too early to jump to conclusion. “There are still 11 days left for the new notification to come into effect. If the state government takes corrective steps during this period and approaches the authorities concerned with details, the DGCA might take a fresh look at its stand,” said a source.
Aviation experts claimed that the reduced length of the runways would make the airport unfit for operation of big aircraft like Boeing 737 and Airbus 320. Mirza Faizan, a city-based aviation scientist and chief executive officer of Bangalore-based Avembsys Technologies Pvt. Ltd told The Telegraph: “The requirement of runway length does not depend on the aircraft model. It depends on air temperature, weight of aircraft (empty as well as with passengers), wind component and obstacle height. Based on my calculations, it would be difficult for Airbus 320 and Boeing 727 to operate on the revised length of the runway. In that case, one feasible option for airlines would be to bring passengers to the nearest airport like Ranchi in bigger aircraft and then fly them to Patna in smaller planes. But such a practice would not be feasible via Gaya International Airport because the air distance between the two airports would not be feasible for aircraft operation.”
According to sources, the re-notification of the runways’ length came after the operating licence of the airport expired on June 30. The DGCA had held back renewal of the operating licence of the airport till date because of 101 obstacles around Patna airport.