Patna, Sept. 19 -- The Airports Authority of India (AAI), has extended, yet again, its decision, to re-notify runway length of the Jaiprakash Narain International (JPNI) Airport here to October 31. The decision, taken in view of obstructions in airport vicinity, was earlier supposed to have come into effect from September 20. This is the third time in 37 days, that the AAI had decided to extend the implementation date of its notice to airmen (NOTAM), initially issued on August 4.
Acting airport director RN Sen told Hindustan Times, "Considering the progress of work on removal of obstacles, higher authorities have decided to extend implementation of restriction plan from September 20 to October 31".
Though the 600-odd identified trees in the adjoining Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park had been pruned, some more remain to be trimmed along the Phulwari railway track and in the graveyard. Besides, light posts at the graveyard, some water tanks atop residential buildings and two mobile towers also remain to be removed.
The state government is of the view, that the authorities should ask the railways to prune the trees along the railway track and near the Phulwari railway cabin.
As for the removal of obstructions, including mobile towers on private land, the state government wants the DGCA to issue requisite orders under the provisions of the aircraft (demolition of obstruction caused by building and trees, etc) rules, 1994.
Given the obstructions in the vicinity of the airport, the AAI had, on August 4, issued a NOTAM reducing from August 16 the landing distance available (LDA), which would have made the airport unfit for operation of wide-bodied jets like Airbus 320 and Boeing 737. On August 11, the AAI provided a 16-day breather till August 31. But before that, on August 27, it followed up with another extension till September 19.
On September 7, director general civil aviation Arun Mishra had come here and met chief secretary AK Sinha to discuss issues pertaining to the Patna airport.
Sources say, considering the work undertaken by the state government on removal of encumbrances and its reconciliatory approach towards the directorate general of civil aviation, the state had succeeded in pressurising the AAI to put in abeyance implementation of its decision, which was as good as revoked.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.