Soon, an airport that never sleeps
The Airports Authority of India, a statutory body working under the ministry of civil aviation, has given the go-ahead to IndiGo airlines to use Birsa Munda Airport for night parking, paving the way for night flights from the domestic airport of the state capital.
Earlier, an aircraft could not be parked at the airport at night.
Ranchi can now expect much better air connectivity with this development, said Birsa Munda Airport director Vinod Sharma.
“We have given IndiGo airlines permission for night parking of their aircraft. The airline can now introduce flights that will land here late at night and take off in the morning,” he said. “The same (permission) can be given to other airline companies as well if they approach us,” Sharma added.
On any infrastructure changes, Sharma added: “Yes, the apron area of the airport has already been extended so that it can accommodate parked aircraft.”
At present, Ranchi airport handles 58 regular “movements” everyday, meaning that it facilitates 29 landings of incoming flights and an equal number of take-offs for outgoing ones.
It also has a night landing facility and handles fights till early evening. Then the watchtower is closed as no flights land or take off in the late hours at night.
But if the new flights land or take off late in the night, the watchtower will start functioning round the clock, the airport director said.
A new air traffic control tower is also being set up and it will be operational within the next few months, Sharma further said, indicating that this would handle more flights.
“It now depends on the interest of the airlines, what they want,” Sharma said when asked about the tentative date of late night fights, adding that the airline was free to introduce them.
Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI), the apex trade body of the state, that had been demanding better air connectivity for Ranchi for a long time now, welcomed the development. Its president Kunal Ajmani said that their outfit was always in favour of Ranchi getting better air connectivity and had been demanding more flights. “In today’s world of business, time is money.
So yes, this development is really long due,” he said. “It is nice to know that things are in place for late night fights to and from Ranchi and we hope that it happens at the soonest.”