Siliguri, June 23: The Airports Authority of India has decided not to wait any more for land to be taken over by the state government to install the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Bagdogra Airport and put in place the facility immediately, though in a truncated way.
Rakesh Sahay, the Bagdogra airport director, today said the ILS of CAT-II (category two) would be installed by the Indian Air Force by September 20 and the work would begin on July 20.
"For two months from July 20, flights will operate in Bagdogra between 12pm and 6pm as work will be carried out on the runway. There were 10 meetings with airline companies and they have agreed to change flight schedules," he said.
At Bagdogra, most flights operate between 12pm and 5pm and there are only a couple of services before 12pm.
|The Bagdogra airport terminal|
"The IAF will install the Approach Light System (also called ALS that is a component of the ILS) along the 1,500ft stretch of the runway. The remaining 7,500ft runway, where also some lights will be installed, will be available for flights to take off and land for the two months. That stretch of the runway is sufficient for the kind of airplanes which operate out of Bagdogra," he said.
Added to the installation of the ALS, two other instruments will be erected beside the runway. "We do not need land for installing the two equipment. One is a glide path indicator, while the other is a localiser, which helps flights align with the runway and gives horizontal guidance before landing," Sahay said.
"As of now, a flight needs at least 2,100 metres of visibility at Bagdogra. Once the CAT-II ILS is introduced completely, visibility of only 350 metres is required. Since the ILS is commissioned the way we plan to, visibility will come down to 1,000 metres.," the airport director added.
The required visibility of 350 metres will be ensured only after approach lights were installed over a stretch of 900ft ahead of the existing runway. "As the state government is yet to provide us with land to build the extra runway of 900ft, we are putting the lights only over the stretch of 1,500ft. That is why the required visibility will not come down to 350 metres but up to 1,000 metres only," said an AAI official.
According to sources, Bagdogra needs a total of 24.16 acres for installing the ILS. Out of the 24.16 acres, 9.97 acres are with the IAF. Of the remaining 14.19 acres, the state owns 12.91 acres.
However, out of the 1.28 acres, there is a temple on 0.12 acres, while five families own the rest 1.16 acres. The five families are not ready to accept the compensation at the rate offered by the state government and their land is yet to be taken over.
The AAI official said: "We are not ready to wait for the land any more. With the existing runway, the ILS is being erected. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to visit north Bengal next week. We will request her to see that the land is handed over to us."
Once the ILS is commissioned, all airline companies will be informed about the new infrastructure. "It is up to the companies to decide whether they would introduce evening flights. There is no problem with regard to other issues as the IAF, which manages the runway and Air Traffic Control, has agreed in 2013 to let commercial flights land and take off till 10pm," another AAI official said.