One of the three runways at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, could be closed due to fears of a terrorist attack on prime locations in the capital city.
Since runway 27’s approach path is the closest to central Delhi, the defence and security establishment wants only military and VVIP planes to use it, reported the Times of India (TOI).
However, the move is being opposed by civil authorities who feel that it will hamper the airport from becoming a big aviation hub.
Currently, the airport operates three near-parallel runways; runway 11/29, with CAT IIIB instrument landing system (ILS) on both sides, runway 10/28, and an auxiliary runway 09/27.
The shortest of the three, the 9,229ft-long runway 27 is most commonly used for arrivals. The combined capacity of the three runways is 75 aircraft an hour and the airport handles an average of 950 flights daily. It handled 24,518 aircraft movements in September.
Before the airport built its third runway in 2008, the airport used to face massive congestions and planes would need to hover in the air for a long time to land.
Due to this, airlines used to add an extra congestion charge in their fares when they had to burn a lot of fuel due to hovering.
The TOI quoted an unidentified source as saying: "Most of the times, runway 27 is used for arrivals.
"Runway 28 is used for departures as it is equidistant from both terminal 1B used by low cost carriers for domestic operations and terminal 3. Runway 29 is used for both arrivals and departures.
"Shutting down runway 27 will straightaway mean a one-third reduction in aircraft handling capacity."
Image: The Indira Gandhi Airport might have to shut down one of its three runways due to terror threats. Photo: courtesy of IGI Airport.