Delhi Airport’s fourth runway, dual taxiway inaugurated

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The Delhi Airport’s fourth runway and elevated dual taxiway were inaugurated on Friday. This addition makes the airport the only one in India to have four runways. The 4.4-km runway was constructed to handle increased traffic, which is set to go up from 1,500 flights a day to 2,000. 

The 4.4-km runway (left) was inaugurated in the presence of Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia.

During the event, General (Dr.) Vijay Kumar Singh (Retd.) Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, and Road Transport and Highways, Shri Sanjeev Kumar, Chairman, Airport Authority of India, Shri G. M. Rao, Group Chairman, GMR were also present.

SUMMARY

The new runway and taxiway are capable of handling large aircraft and wide-body jets such as Airbus 380, Boeing 777 and Boeing 747-8.

The new runway and the ECT are expected to enable Delhi Airport to be future-ready to handle 109 million passengers annually

Although completed in 2021, the runway’s operationalisation was delayed by the procurement of the instrument landing system due to the Ukraine war

  • IGI Airport becomes the first airport in the country to have four runways and an elevated taxiway
  • Total paved length of the runway is 4.4 km, and its width is 45m
  • Runway can handle wide-body aircraft including A-380&B-777
  • The Dual-way elevated taxiway connects the Northern & Southern airfields
  • The Taxiway will help reduce taxi distance for aircraft by 7 km and annual CO2 emissions by 55,000 tonnes

As Air India flight 821 (Delhi-Srinagar) touched down on the freshly built runway at India’s busiest and the world’s seventh-busiest airport, the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), it was liberally sprayed with water streams from two fire tenders parked on the runway.

The event made IGIA the first in the country to launch a fourth runway as well as an elevated taxiway.

Managed and operated by the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), a consortium led by GMR Airports Infrastructure, measures have long been afoot at IGIA to enhance both airside and terminal capacity. The unveiling of the fourth runway and the eastern cross taxiway (ECT) is expected to substantially improve the turnaround time for both the airlines operating to and from the airport as well as passengers transiting through it.

The new runway—technically called 11L-29R—has a length of 4,400 metres and a width of 45 metres and is designed to handle widebody aircraft.

The ECT is 2.1 kilometres long and 44 metres wide, with a gap of 47 metres between the two lanes, and has been built to allow safe and simultaneous passage of two large jetliners. The taxiways will connect northern and southern airfields and reduce taxi distance for aircraft by 7 kilometres to the three terminals at IGIA even as a fourth one is coming up.

“From about 70 million passengers per year as the biggest airport in India, the Delhi Airport will soon become one of the largest airports in the world at 109 million passengers per year,” Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia declared at the inauguration.

Though the runway was completed in 2021, it took a little over two years to operationalise it. And the secret behind the delay was revealed by none other than shy GMR Group Chairperson Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao. “The delay in procurement of the instrument landing system (ILS) due to the conflict in Ukraine led to [this],” disclosed Rao.

Both the new runway and the taxiway are capable of handling large aircraft and wide-body jets such as Airbus 380, Boeing 777 and Boeing 747-8.

Together with the new integrated Terminal-1, the fourth runway and the ECT will enable Delhi Airport to be future-ready. Simply put, the four runways and the ECT will significantly increase IGIA’s capacity from 1,500 aircraft movements per day to 1,700.

It is also estimated that by optimising taxiing routes and aircraft operations, the ECT would especially help in a reduction of an estimated 55,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Following the announcement, GMR stock price closed at Rs 44.80 per share, up Rs 1.36 from the previous close.

Eastern Cross Taxiway (ECT) will help in enhancing the passenger experience by reducing time spent on the tarmac by flyers after landings and before take-offs. Furthermore, four runway operations and the ECT will significantly increase capacity at IGIA – making it capable of handling 1700+ movements.

Mr. Scindia said “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Civil Aviation sector is not only contributing to the transportation sector but also becoming a key enabler in the rise of the economic power of India. Today is a landmark day for Indian civil aviation, both on the infrastructure side and services side. The Eastern Cross Taxiway is the first of its kind in India. Also, this elevated Eastern Cross Taxiway (ECT) will see a reduction of almost 55 thousand tons of CO2 Emission on an annual basis. Also, this ECT, along with the fourth runway and the new integrated Terminal 1, will make Delhi Airport future-ready and fulfil the dream of creating a major International Hub.

Capacity along with Technological intervention will further enhance the passenger experience. The northern part of the airfield and the southern part of the airfield will be conveniently connected by this. It means an 8 to 9 minute reduction in taxi time. This runway makes Delhi Airport the only airport in the country to have 4 runways.  This runway along with the terminal expansion will add to creating capacity to serve more than 109 million people throughput which would crest and beat even Atlanta in its capability. With that capacity in place, we would be well positioned both on an infrastructure side and a capability side for creating the international civil aviation hub in India.” 

Some of the salient features of the runway and taxiway include:
 

Fourth Runway (11R/29L)Eastern Cross Taxiway (ECT)
Total paved length of 4.4km and width of 45mAbility to handle wide-body aircraft including A-380& B-777Enhanced capacity to handle simultaneous flight operationsThe runway is designed in compliance with Aerodrome Reference Code 4F Dual-way elevated taxiway connecting Northern & Southern airfields2.1kmlong and 44m wide dual-lane elevated Code F-compliant taxiwaysThe taxiways will have a gap of 47m to allow safe and simultaneous passage of two big aircraftWill help reduce taxi distance for aircraft by 7 kmReduce CO2 emissions by 55,000 tonnes annually