Land push to give Patna airport longer runway

Patna airport director Rajendra Singh Lahouria has sent a proposal to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to grant 7.5 acres of land from the zoo side and another 45 acres from the Chitkohra overbridge side to increase the length of the runway.

By Nishant Sinha in Patna
  • Published 29.03.18
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Patna: Patna airport director Rajendra Singh Lahouria has sent a proposal to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to grant 7.5 acres of land from the zoo side and another 45 acres from the Chitkohra overbridge side to increase the length of the runway.

The proposal is being sent to the state government for its consideration.

The length of the runway at Patna airport is only 1,924 metres, one of the shortest in the country. The Calcutta aiport's runway length, to cite an example, is around 3,627m. Patna airport's short runway makes it difficult to land bigger aircraft such as Boeing 737 and Airbus 320.

"Yes, I have written to the headquarters at Delhi seeking more land for the airport," airport director Lahouria said on Wednesday. "As the Bihar government was insisting that a proposal to this effect should come from the AAI, I have written to them.

"If we get 7.5 acres of land from the Patna zoo side, the length of the Patna airport runway will increase by 135 metres," he added. "By increasing the runway, the flights' take-off distance would increase and flight landings from the western side would get smoother."

Due to the short runway, airlines are also operating flights to Patna on load penalty, which means they cannot run the aircrafts on full passenger capacity. Once the runway is lengthened, there would be a decrease in the load penalty, Lahouria said.

He said the 45 acres sought from the Chitkohra overbridge side belong to the forest department and the animal husbandry department jointly.

"This land has been sought for building isolation parking at the airport and Doppler very high frequency (VHF) omni directional range (DVOR), a navigational aid that is used to help the aircraft find its air routes and make landings," Lahouria explained.

HOPE IN SIGHT: The present runway of the Patna airport is one of India’s shortest

The DVOR is a radio navigation aid introduced internationally for short- and medium-range aircraft guidance. Using the VOR receiver installed in the aircraft, the pilot is able to obtain the aircraft's position relative to the ground.

Patna airport also does not have an isolated parking facility. An airport should designate an isolated aircraft parking position that can be used for parking an aircraft when sabotage is suspected or when an aircraft appears to have been seized unlawfully.

This position should be at least 325 feet (100m) from any other aircraft parking position, an airport official said.

Furthermore, a disposal area should be designated at the airport for disposal or exploding of any device found in the course of sabotage or unlawful seizure.

The disposal area also should be clear of all other used areas, including the isolated parking position, by at least 325 feet (100m), the official further said.

"An airport might need several designated isolated positions to be used for different kinds of incidents," the official explained.

Patna airport does not have these facilities yet.

The need for an isolated parking was felt last year when passengers on board a Patna-New Delhi IndiGo flight had a narrow escape when a technical snag developed in the engine, with smoke emanating from the cabin, while the flight was just about to take off.

A total of 174 passengers and nine crew members were on board and the plane was evacuated soon after the incident.

All flights to and from Patna were cancelled for hours as the aircraft was stuck on the runway.