The Telegraph
Thursday , February 27 , 2014
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Birsa terminal taxies closer to air jetties

Boarding flights from Ranchi will soon be a tad more convenient.

The much-awaited passenger walkways at the year-old integrated terminal building of Birsa Munda Airport are expected to see the light of day by the end of next month.

The twin aerobridges, planned for the Rs 138-crore terminal, are costing a crore each and will be concrete connectors encased in glass. Unlike at many international airports, these passenger-boarding bridges will not be fully retractable in length.

They will, however, have radially swinging exits called cabs, which dock to the doorsill of an aircraft prior to loading. The cab is provided with an accordion-like canopy and provides a nearly weatherproof seal.

Loading bridges not just provide all-weather dry access to an aircraft, they also enhance the security of terminal operations. The air jetties at Birsa Munda Airport will offer enhanced access to aircraft for passengers with disabilities or those with temporary impaired mobility. The elderly too will be among the beneficiaries. They can board and disembark without climbing stairs.

Airport director Raju Raghvendra Kumar said that installation of the boarding bridges was being done on a war footing. “The Indonesian agency Bukaka, which has been awarded aerobridge jobs across all airports in India, started the project a few months ago. They haven’t spelt any particular date, but have said that the air jetties can be commissioned by March-end,” said Kumar.

However, throwing open the passenger walkways may take a few more months since it involves formalities. “After commissioning of the aerobridges, we need to seek formal approvals — like licence to operate and safety clearance — from the DGCA,” Kumar added.

Another airport official said that the Rs 2-crore jet bridges would fulfil requirements of bigger aircraft manufactured by aviation leaders like US multinational Boeing and European consortium Airbus. Currently, 10 flights — using modestly sized aircraft of various airlines — operate out of Birsa airport.

“It takes more than half an hour for a passenger to cover the distance between the terminal building and an aircraft. After checking in, people have to wait at the passenger hold area for a shuttle bus to ferry them to the plane. All that will be passé. Transfer time will go down by 15-20 minutes once the air bridges are ready,” the official said.

He added that besides being a boon for passengers, especially the elderly and the indisposed, the boarding bridges would further motivate airlines to expand their services from Ranchi.

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