The airline achieved this feat today, on July 14, 2023, the same day today Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched the Chandrayaan-3 successfully. So this is a day we will never forget as aviators and Indians.
Air India Created History at Delhi Airport
The Tata-owned carrier, Air India, deployed its Airbus A320 to take off from the newly inaugurated runway. Further, the aircraft received the water cannon salute to inaugurate the runway and celebrate this major milestone.
The aircraft has the registration VT-CIG; FYI, it is the same aircraft in our feature image. Furthermore, it is a 5.8-year-old aircraft; Airbus delivered it to AI in 2017. Subsequently, Air India deployed it on Delhi (DEL) to Jammu (IXJ) route.
According to Flight Radar 24, flight AI821 taxied from Apron 23 towards the new runway. The aircraft took off from the 11R side of the runway at around 11:30 AM IST and landed safely at IXJ at 12:33 PM IST.
Runway and Taxiway Inauguration
In a significant development, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia inaugurated the dual elevated Eastern Cross Taxiways (ECT) and the fourth runway at the Delhi airport on July 14. Further, the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) handles over 1,500 aircraft movements daily.
The newly inaugurated Eastern Cross Taxiways, spanning 2.1 kilometres, aim to reduce passenger tarmac time post-landing and pre-takeoff.
Notably, this airport becomes the first in the country to feature an elevated taxiway with roads passing beneath it.
The ECT effectively connects the northern and southern airfields on the eastern side of the airport. Significantly shortening the taxiing distance for aircraft by seven kilometres.
This advanced infrastructure can accommodate wide-body aircraft, including A380, Boeing 777, and Boeing 747 models.
With the addition of the fourth runway, the Delhi airport now boasts four operational runways: RW 09/27, RW 11R/29L, RW 10/28, and RW 11L/29R.
The expansion of runway capacity is expected to facilitate smoother air traffic flow and reduce congestion at one of India’s busiest airports.
A Promising Future
During the inauguration, Minister Scindia expressed optimism about the growth of the civil aviation sector in India.
He projected a significant increase in the number of planes operated by domestic airlines, from the current 720 to 1,500.
He highlighted the sector’s economic contribution and emphasized the aircraft orders placed by various airlines, including Air India. Mr Scindia regarded this development as the beginning of a new growth phase for the civil aviation industry in the country.
G.M. Rao, the Group Chairman of GMR Group, underlined the positive impact of the Eastern Cross Taxiways and the fourth runway on operational efficiency and capacity enhancement.
At the inauguration event, he expressed confidence that these additions would streamline airport operations. Subsequently, accommodate the growing air traffic demand.
Future Expansion Plans of Delhi Airport
Minister Scindia also revealed his directive to the Delhi airport operator, Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), to complete the construction of the fourth terminal by October.
This initiative aims to enhance the airport’s capacity further and provide better services to the increasing number of passengers.
Further, with the inauguration of the dual elevated Eastern Cross Taxiways and the fourth runway, the Delhi airport reinforces its position as a vital hub in India’s aviation landscape.
The modern infrastructure and focus on efficiency improvements bode well for the country’s civil aviation sector’s growth.
Feature Image: instagram.com/avgeekwithlens/
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