New Delhi Airport gets India’s longest runways
Indian officials inaugurated the country's longest runway today, hoping it will ease conditions at New Delhi's chronically congested Indira Gandhi International Airport – but they will have to get the stray animals off it first.
An Air India flight landed on the runway and was sprayed with water cannons as part of the inauguration ceremony. However, the ceremony was marred when a stray dog ran onto the runway as the plane was touching down.
In July, flights at the airport were delayed for several hours when jackals, lizards and raptors descended on a runway, looking to dry off after heavy rains.
As India's economy has boomed air traffic has increased dramatically, with some 70 percent of all traffic in New Delhi and Mumbai.
However, the existing airports have been unable to cope with all the new traffic and aircraft are frequently forced to circle for long periods waiting to land or stand in long lines for takeoffs.
It also will be able to handle the new-generation super jumbos.
The 2.75-mile long runway, the airport's third, will boost the number of flights the airport is able to handle to 60 per hour, up from the current 30.
The new runway will be thrown open to commercial flights from Aug.
A survey by the Airports Authority of India says an estimated 30 to 35 million passengers per year will use the airport by 2010, when a new airport is expected to be completed, up from 23 million passengers in 2007.
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