The international runway at Sahar, Mumbai is being reconstructed. The repair work is being carried out in three phases between September 2010 and July 2011.
In the first phase, reconstruction of Runway 27 End (requiring shortening of runway 09/27 on the runway 27 end by 463 meters) is undertaken. Reconstruction of this end requires the change of runway gradient to make it compliant with regulation and to match elevation of the newly constructed Taxiway-N. In this process, the runway needs to be raised by about one metre. Also, major Brihanmumbai drain work between runway end and RWY 27 Localiser will be undertaken. This will lead to widening of the runway. Along with this, TWY N will be connected with the extremity of RWY 27 and the work will include the removal of RWI 09 turn pad as it’s no longer required. This is because the aircraft needs the turnpad area at the end of runway to turn to exit but since it will now be connected to a taxiway, the aircraft will be able to exit through the taxiway, thereby doing away with the need of the turnpad. Reconstruction of the taxiway N3 is being done in such a way that big planes like Airbus 380 can land on it.
The second phase will include reconstruction of Runway 09/27, widening of the runway from 45 metres to 60 metres and making the runway Code-F compliant. The runway will be relayed with 1200 tons of asphalt from 09-End facing the Western Express Highway. In the third phase, reconstruction of the Runway 09 End will be carried out which will entail shortening of Runway 09/27 on the Runway 09 End side by 258 metres.
The repair work will also include parallel drainage along the length of the primary runway, reconstruction of the total Airfield Lighting which includes shifting of Rwy Edge Lights from its current location and installation of new Central Line Lights and upgrading of all taxiways connecting into RWY 09/27 and two new connectivity added to the network.
Manish Kalghatgi, Head, Corporate Communications, Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) told TrafficInfraTech, “Runway resurfacing is a standard practice followed by all airports globally to maintain a consistent pavement surface which gets impacted over a period of time due to continuous aircraft movements. The last resurfacing of the primary runway was undertaken in 2003. Earlier this year, MIAL completed reconstruction of the secondary runway 14/32 and resurfacing of the runway intersection area. Both these projects were significant milestones in MIAL’s plans of overhauling the airside infrastructure, with an objective to provide both airlines and passengers with an enhanced experience.”
The process of runway closure had begun by around April 2010, and was planned after extensive discussions with airlines and at various fora with stakeholders (airlines, ATC, etc). “Their suggestion was that winter would be the best time for one schedule and summer for the other. This work was planned coinciding with the winter schedule as airlines have special schedule for winter. We kept all this in mind while planning the reconstruction schedule. The second runway is fully operational from 9am to 5am. In case of an emergency if the runway has to be made available, there is a restoration period of four hours to make it available.”
While the ground infrastructure is operated by GVK, the maintenance is looked after by the ATC and ATC decides which runway would remain open or shut at a given time. The number of flights would increase once the reconstruction is over. The slots allotted to airlines by DTC will go up after this upgradation which will lead to addition of flights. Also, with Code F compliance, big airbuses like A 380 would be able to use the runway as it would be wider. More people could travel via these airbuses.
L & T has been given the contract for the construction at the airport. About 18 different types of machineries are estimated to be used for the Asphalt laying works, 22 types of machineries for Airside Ground Lighting works and six types for grading works. This mammoth and crucial project will also involve around 750 manpower strength to complete all the three phases of RWY 09/27 Reconstruction Project. This upgradation would bring the Sahar airport at par with the best airports in the world.