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New Milestone in Aviation History of India
21  August, 2008
New Milestone in Aviation History of India

Inaugural Flight Lands at the New Runway at IGI Airport – Delhi
4430m long runway longest in the country and featuring CAT IIIB ILS at both ends

IGI Airport becomes India's first airport with three runways
New Delhi, August 21 ,2008: A new chapter in India's aviation history unfolded this morning, when the inaugural flight touched down on Indira Gandhi International Airport's (IGIA) brand new runway 11-29. This is IGIA's third runway and with it, it becomes the India's first and among the very few civilian airports in Asia to have three operating runways.

Hon'ble Minister for Civil Aviation Mr. Praful Patel along with senior parliamentarians and officials from the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Directorate General of Civil Aviation & Airports Authority of India, were present to witness the first landing. The runway has been developed by Delhi International Airport (P) Limited (DIAL), a GMR Group led Joint Venture Consortium mandated to operate and modernize the IGI Airport under the Public Private Partnership Initiative of Govt. of India.

The first touch down at the runway was made by a special flight by an Air India Boeing 777. Upon arrival, the aircraft was given the traditional water cannon salute by the Fire Tenders by IGI Airport's Fire Service. This was new generation infrastructure utilized by new generation long range aircraft with safety assured by new generation lighting systems and Crash Fire Tenders.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. GM Rao – Group Chairman, GMR Group said, "Today is a great day for Indian Aviation. Runways are roads that lead to the sky, and it is GMR Group's commitment to build infrastructure that paves the way for India's economy to reach new heights. We are confident that this National Asset will truly occupy a pride of place in every Indian's heart."

Mr. Kiran Kumar Grandhi, Business Chairman – Airports, GMR Group said, "The completion of the runway ahead of schedule marks another project, which GMR Group has delivered before the deadline and we are on track to complete the Integrated Passenger Terminal (Terminal 3) on schedule as well. Together, the runway and Terminal 3 will form India's new gateway to the world when it welcomes participants and guests for the Commonwealth Games 2010."

Completed more than six months ahead of scheduled date of February 2009, the 75m wide runway is among the longest in Asia at 4430m. Built to Code F standards, the runway is capable of handling new generation large aircraft such as the Airbus A380. 11-29 will significantly expand IGIA's capacity to handle aircraft movements. In addition, the runway is also equipped with CAT IIIB Instrument Landing System at both ends allowing compatible aircraft to land even when the visibility is as low as 50m. This will complement the existing CAT IIIB equipment on runway 10-28 making IGI Airport the only one in India to have twin runways with this advanced Instrument Landing System. In addition, an advanced Surface Movement Guidance System, featuring induction loop sensors has been deployed to track the movement of the aircraft along the runway.

The runway has been constructed using some of the most advanced construction techniques, materials & equipment. More than 2000 trial mix designs were conducted in the project laboratory to arrive at the most suitable concrete and asphalt mixes for the runway layers and surface.

Some Key Facts & Figures
  • The project involved an astounding 2.3 million m³ of earthwork and embankment filling. That is enough to form a 210 km long freight train!! The runway is more than 2 m thick, comprising seven layers of Filling, Concrete Treated Base, Asphalt and a special layer of glass grid.
  • Over 650,000 tonnes of asphalt has been used during the construction of the runway, a load which can help build a 75 km long six lane expressway!! More than 2.5 million tones of aggregate was used during the construction of the runway. The aggregate was sourced from various sources and three aggregate crushing units were established around Delhi in Rajasthan and Haryana exclusively for this project.
  • Daily supply of aggregate to the project was an average of 500 trucks truck loads per day. Bitumen for the project came from refineries in Panipat and Mathura and Polymer Modified Bitumen was prepared at Kosi in Uttar Pradesh, all in northern India. An astounding 165,000 tonnes of cement was consumed during the construction of the runway. It took 15 suppliers to provide the requisite quantity of cement for the runway.
  • A host of innovative techniques were used for the construction of the runway as well. For example the runway surface (pavement) was designed to minimize the usage of rock aggregate. A customized software was used to achieve this goal as the supply of aggregate is limited in the Northern region. Another unique feature is the usage of a specially designed 'stress absorbing membrane layer' which is used to prevent the spread of any cracks on the runway surface under aircraft the weight of an aircraft.
  • Extensive usage of computer simulations was done while designing the rapid exit taxiways & link taxiways. Also, eco-friendly methods were used during the construction involving extensive use of fly-ash in concrete and other cement based material. DIAL also took special permission from the Supreme Court to set-up a Hot Mix plant (otherwise banned in Delhi) at the site. The plant was fitted with the most advanced pollution control systems.
  • A fleet of modern equipment was pressed into service during the construction of this runway, which included

    - 8 Vibratory Soil Compactors with 18 tonne capacity exclusively imported from Germany for this project. These were used for embankments and stabilizing the base soil of the runway.

    - 10 Electronic Sensor Pavers built by Vogele of Germany for laying the surface of the runway. These machines can lay surface of 200 mm thickness at the rate of 60 m per hour.

    - Two 240 m³ per hour batching plants, among the biggest in Asia, for producing ready-mix concrete have been set up at the site. The total facility can produce more than 825 m³ of ready-mix per hour
       and is based on German technology.
About DIAL: Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL) is a joint venture company; comprising the Bangalore headquartered, global infrastructure major GMR Group, Airports Authority of India, Fraport, Malaysian Airport and India Development Fund. DIAL is working towards the modernization and restructuring of the Delhi Airport. The project being developed by DIAL under Public Private Partnership has been given the mandate to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the Delhi Airport for 30 years with an option to extend it by another 30 years.
© Indira Gandhi International Airport.