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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 April 2024

Calcutta airport goes for ‘interim’ expansion

As part of expansion airport terminal will have space to handle 2 million more passengers every year

Sanjay Mandal Calcutta Published 18.04.23, 05:26 AM
Calcutta Airport

Calcutta Airport File picture

The Calcutta airport authorities are planning an expansion to accommodate more passengers and flights.

As part of the expansion, officials said, the airport terminal will have space to handle 2 million more passengers every year. The runway capacity, too, is being increased from 35 flights an hour to 45 flights an hour.

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“Although the existing capacity is enough for the number of flights and passengers now, we have to prepare for the near future when the numbers are bound to grow. post Covid-pandemic,” said C. Pattabhi, director of the Calcutta airport.

The authorities are planning to increase the capacity of the terminal by using unutilised space and by constructing a small extension to the building.

An additional taxiway and three additional rapid exit taxiways are being built to allow faster take off and to reduce the time taken by aircraft to vacate the runway after landing.

Terminal capacity

The airport authorities are planning to increase the capacity of the terminal building so it can accommodate 2 million more passengers every year. The terminal currently handles 26 million passengers a year.

“We are planning to add 4,000sq m area to the terminal by building a structure beside the international section. Once completed, the existing terminal will be connected to the new structure,” said airport director Pattabhi.

The international section will then be shifted further and more space will be created for the domestic section, he said.

The authorities are also planning to use unutilised space in the terminal building.

“There are some artificial water bodies in the arrival section. Those can be used as additional passenger space. There is also some unused space on the upper level of the departure area. That can be utilised, too,” said an airport official.

“We will have more space in the boarding area with additional gates. Also, the security hold area space will be increased,” said Pattabhi.

Now, many passengers complain that they have to wait in long queues for security check in the domestic section because there are not enough counters.

“This expansion is interim and not part of the planned expansion, which will be taken up later,” an official said. A second terminal building is scheduled to come up in the next phase of expansion.

Runway capacity

The authorities are planning to enhance the runway capacity from 35 flights an hour to 45 flights. The airport now handles 30 flights an hour during rush hours, said an official.

A taxiway is being constructed to connect the parking bays to the edge of the northern side of the primary and secondary runways, said officials. “Now a departing aircraft enters the runway and backtracks before starting the takeoff run. The parallel taxiway will allow the aircraft to reach the runway edge directly and need not backtrack,” said airport director Pattabhi.

“Also, several aircraft can line up on the taxiway and take off one after another, thus saving time,” he said.

The construction of three rapid exit taxiways near the northern end of the runway is nearing completion.

Now, there is only one rapid exit taxiway and it cannot be used at the optimum level, said an official. A rapid exit taxiway allows an aircraft to vacate the runway without reducing the speed after landing because of an wider angle, said an official. For around nine months, flights have been landing at the airport from the northern end because of the wind pattern, said the official.

“We are expecting to make the taxiway and the rapid exit taxiways operational in six months,” he said.

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