The new parallel taxi track (N 5), constructed at the Visakhapatnam International Airport, is expected to be commissioned by the end of this month. The track will help in increasing the number of flight movements (landing and take off) by two an hour.
Though the construction of N 5 taxi track was completed in November 2019, it could not be commissioned immediately as there were several procedural issues to be followed. These included safety inspections by various agencies and sending information on the new track to airports across the globe. The subsequent lockdown and restrictions on the movement of flights due to COVID-19 resulted in further delays.
“The safety team from the Southern Region of Airports Authority of India (AAI) has given its clearance after inspection and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has given its security clearance, the Indian Navy has given operational clearance and other clearances have already been obtained. The parking provided to different aircraft at the airport has to be published and sent to all airports,” Airport Director M. Raja Kishore told The Hindu.
“Once the information is published and sent to different airports, the aircraft can start using N 5 taxi track to reach the parking bays. The ‘L’ shaped N 5 track facilitates quick movement of the aircraft to the parking bays. The existing N 3 and N 4 are located perpendicular to the runway. On commissioning of N 5, the operational efficiency of the airport will improve considerably. The flight movements, which are 80 a day, at present can be increased up to 120 a day, depending on the demand,” he said.
The AAI has spent ₹23 crore on construction of N 5 and six additional parking bays at the airport. “As many as 12 big aircraft can be parked at the airport now. In addition to this, four smaller aircraft can also be parked at the old terminal building. We are hoping that a few airline operators would plan late night arrivals and early morning departures from the city. IndiGo has shown interest, in the past, in utilising the night parking facility,” said the Airport Director.
“The works undertaken as part of linear expansion of the terminal building are in advanced stage of completion and it is expected to be ready by June-end,” Mr. Raja Kishore added.