JAMMU: Soon after a major tragedy involving Jammu bound AI 821 flight was averted at Jammu Airport on Friday, the question of long pending re-surfacing work of runway maintained by the Indian Air Force came to the centre stage.
Almost 16 years have passed when the re-surfacing work was carried out by the Indian Air Force.
Under ideal conditions it is mandatory to carry out resurfacing work of routine runways after a gap of 8-10 years or so.
Depending upon the nature of wear and tear suffered by the runway the decision to carry out necessary repair and strengthening work is also taken.
In case of Jammu Airport which is still categorised as Defence airport and its runway is maintained by the Indian Air Force is awaiting resurfacing and extension work.
In the recent years, despite increasing flight operations the runway has neither been expanded nor has any re-carpeting been done to make it fit for all types of aircrafts.
The Airport Authority of India is carrying out expansion work of the terminal. The exit terminal was recently thrown open even though the work on the existing departure terminal is going on.
According to Director Airport Authority of India, Jammu D K Gautam, “The re-surfacing work of the 6700 ft long runway is long overdue and should have been completed by now”.
He said the Indian Air Force Authorities have now initiated the tender process and soon they would be awarding resurfacing work to the concerned agency. Once resurfacing of existing runway is completed further expansion and strengthening of runway is also required, official sources revealed.A proposal to expand the runway to 8000 ft is still pending as land needed for the same has not been handed over to the AAI. A total sum of Rs 50-60 crore is needed to carry out these works, official sources said.
The re-surfacing of the existing runway at Jammu Airport would require at least one year’s time. For some time the commercial flights would be suspended to expedite the work.
Meanwhile, to carry out expansion work of the airport terminal the road from Military Hospital to Raipur Satwari area has been taken over by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and has since been barricaded and closed for all vehicular traffic.
AAI has also been handed over 17.5 acres of land by the defence authorities to carry out the much awaited expansion work.
Talking to STATE TIMES D.K Gautam, Airport Director, Jammu, said that the authorities have speeded up work for airport expansion.
Referring to the clearing of runway D.K Gautam told STATE TIMES the runway has been cleared by shifting the aircraft which skidded off the runway after pilots reported failure of brakes and bursting of tyres. He said the commercial flights would be able to resume their flights early Saturday morning from Jammu airport
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