One of the 18 aerobridges (right) in use at Calcutta airport and some of the remote parking bays for aircraft
Calcutta airport will get 16 more aerobridges and some much-needed airside upgrades during the second phase of modernisation, to be carried out by a private operator whose role would extend to managing the facilities.
The aerobridges in the blueprint will be along a 200-metre air-conditioned corridor parallel to the old domestic terminal building. Airport officials said they would be installed over the next two to three years.
“This is part of the second phase of modernisation. Of the new aerobridges, 12 will be for domestic operations and four for international services,” airport director B.P. Sharma told Metro.
The aerobridges meant for domestic operations would arrive first.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had last week invited bids for a concessionaire to build several facilities, many of them on the airside, with an estimated budget of Rs 700 crore.
Apart from the additional aerobridges, the “scope of work” includes strengthening the main runway, resurfacing the secondary runway, extending the “F” taxi track and the apron area, making provisions for CAT-II lighting and creating an isolation bay along with hangers to park aircraft at night.
A covered link between Metro Railway’s proposed station at the airport and the integrated terminal building and a domestic cargo terminal are also part of the plan. “The scope and projected cost may be modified at the bid stage. The investment will be made within a period of three to four years,” a senior AAI official said from Delhi.
Aerobridges are an immediate requirement for the airport. In the first phase of modernisation, 18 aerobridges were installed, all connected to the new terminal that has been built to handle 20 million passengers annually.
Mumbai airport is being upgraded to handle 40 million passengers a year with four times more aerobridges than in Calcutta. Delhi’s Terminal 3 alone has 78 aerobridges for an annual traffic of 35 million.
The new Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport has 66 aerobridges for a projected annual traffic of 43 million passengers.
Of the 18 aerobridges at the city airport, nine each are for domestic and international flights. Flights have to be parked in the remote bays when all nine aerobridges in the busy domestic section are occupied while those linked to the international section remain unused.
The shortage of aerobridges is one of the reasons why baggage invariably takes more time to arrive than at other metropolitan airports, sources said.
“Tractor trolleys have to cover long distances when aircraft are parked in remote bays. That delays baggage arrival,” an official said.
It takes three to four minutes on an average for luggage to be unloaded from the aircraft’s belly and put on a tractor trolley, which then covers 2 to 2.5km till the integrated terminal. A tractor trolley takes at least seven minutes to reach the building, an official said.
A trolley often has to wait some time when an aircraft moves along the taxiway for take-off. This adds to the delay.
“The new aerobridges will be connected to 16 of the old parking bays that are now far from the integrated terminal. Passengers will use the air-conditioned corridor to reach the terminal,” the official said.
Taxiway F will be extended by 800 metres and linked to the southern end of the secondary runway, director Sharma said.
This is meant to optimise runway use and speed up take-off operations. In the present set-up, an aircraft needs to wait at the taxiway outside the secondary runway when the one ahead of it is taking off or another flight lands on either of the two runways.
After the extension, an aircraft can taxi till the end of the secondary runway and wait there. It can start take-off manoeuvres as soon as the aircraft ahead of it becomes airborne or the one that has landed moves out.
time for MAKEOVER PART II
200m air-conditioned corridor to link aerobridges to terminal
800m extension of taxiway F
400m link from Metro station to terminal
Construction of isolation bay
Construction of hangers
Construction of domestic cargo terminal