Begin typing your search...

Kudos to terminal, but runway calls for attention

Tiruchy International Airport is considered one of the fastest-growing airports in India but this has the shortest runway among the top 15 airports in the country.

Kudos to terminal, but runway calls for attention

Tiruchy International Airport

TIRUCHY: All is well with the new world-class terminal in Tiruchy that was thrown open by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 2.

This new terminal would ease the passenger handling congestion but the project will yield fruits only when the runway expansion is done to facilitate the landing of wide-bodied aircraft. If that happens it would almost double the passenger and cargo flow and generate more income.

Tiruchy International Airport is considered one of the fastest-growing airports in India but this has the shortest runway among the top 15 airports in the country.

With the runway only 8,136 feet long, operation of wide-bodied international aircraft is not possible.

As per the records of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), a proposal for the expansion of the runway was sent to the state government on January 10, 2010, with a proposed length of 12,000 which would be feasible for the operation of wide-bodied aircraft like Airbus A330/340/350 and Boeing B777/B787 into operational from Tiruchy airport.

However, due to various reasons, that had become an unsolved issue and stretched for many years. The total requirement for the expansion of the runway is 510-acre land out of which 165 acres belong to the defence while 345-acre land is dry, wetlands, and poramboke.

The aviation enthusiasts expected the runway expansion along with the new terminal construction but the land acquisition for the runway was at a snail’s pace. “Since 2010, Tamil Nadu has witnessed five chief ministers but the airport expansion works remains a mystery,” said H Ubaidullah, Aviation Analyst.

He also pointed out that Chief Minister MK Stalin during the inauguration of the new terminal, said that the State government has been initiating steps to acquire 294.57-acre land at an estimated cost of Rs 318.85 crore.

“Tiruchy has been waiting for 14 long years for the land acquisition for just Rs 318.85 crore and still the works are under slow process but the government is in a haste to acquire land for Parandur airport and Coimbatore airport expansion which costs several thousand crores,” he said.

Ubaidullah listed out that the runway expansion would facilitate the landing of wide-bodied aircraft that would transport a minimum of 300 passengers and 20 tonnes of cargo which is more than a 50 per cent increase and thus the UDF (User Development Fees), PSF (Passenger Service Fees) and various tax benefits would increase subsequently which would be an income to the State government.

He said that among the airlines operated via Tiruchy airport, Air Asia, Scoot, and Sri Lankan Airways already own wide-bodied aircraft and are ready for operation. Also, Malindo and Viet Airlines have expressed their willingness to operate wide-bodied aircraft.

It is time, for the elected members from the Tiruchy region to echo the voice of the people about the immediate requirement of runway expansion.

The advantages of wide-bodied aircraft

A wide-body aircraft is a wide airplane that can carry a large number of passengers. Wide-body aircraft are almost always used to operate long-haul and medium-haul flights but can occasionally be used on shorter flights.

A wide-body aircraft can carry from 200–850 passengers and typically have two aisles per cabin. Wide-body aircraft usually have two cabins or more with a combination of one Economy Class cabin and one or more Business Class, First Class, or Premium Economy cabins. There are two types of wide-body aircraft — standard wide-body aircraft and bigger wide-body aircraft.

The bigger type is referred to as a ‘jumbo jet’ and is often a double-decker with two floors of seating. Wide-body aircraft are used both in commercial passenger flights and cargo services by hundreds of airlines worldwide.

Next Story