New Delhi: The New Delhi airport said Thursday it planned to soon open Asia’s longest runway after conducting a successful test take-off and landing.
Officials hope the runway will ease huge congestion at India’s second busiest airline hub, an official said.
The 4.43-kilometre (2.7-mile) strip is “the longest in Asia,” said the spokesman for the Delhi International Airport Ltd., beating Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s 4.12-kilometre runway.
Officials carried out “a trial take-off and landing by an Air India aircraft without any passengers,” airport official Arun Arora told AFP.
“The tests were successful. The date for starting commercial operations will be announced soon,” Arora said.
The new runway will nearly double the airport’s peak-hour capacity from 35-40 aircraft landings and take-offs to about 75. The two currently operational parallel runways handle nearly 700 flights a day.
“The hovering time -- which has come down with measures like rapid exit taxi-ways that allow planes to move away from the runway faster, and reducing time between two flight take-offs -- is still about 20 minutes,” said another Delhi airport official who did not wished to be named.
“We hope the new runway will cut it down further,” he said.
Other problems -- including cancellations or delays due to poor visibility in winter and waterlogging in the monsoon -- will also be solved thanks to the new runway, officials said.
“The runway is equipped with a state-of-the art instrument landing system at both ends that will allow landing even when visibility is as low as 50 metres (yards),” Arora said.
New Delhi, host of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, is also sprucing up infrastructure to allow carriers like Emirates, British Airways and Air France to operate Airbus’s flagship A380 on routes to the Indian capital.