Here is another casualty of COVID-19. The dip in air traffic movement due to the pandemic has resulted in the Bangalore International Airport Limited operator of the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), shelving its plans to make both its runway CAT III B compliant. A CAT I runway helps a pilot land with a visibility of 550m while CAT III B runway allows flights to operate in visibility down to 50m. The precision approach comes into play in the winter season when the skies are foggy. While work is on towards making the South Runway CAT III B-compliant, the airport operator has decided to drop its earlier plan to install CAT III B facility for the North Runway. The North Runway is the old runway which is currently being refurbished and the South Runway is the new runway which is now operational.
During the evaluation stage last year, BIAL while undertaking the North Runway’s refurbishment work, had planned commissioning of Cat-III AGL system for the runway. As per BIAL spokesperson “BIAL had initially evaluated installation of the CAT III B facility for both runways at KIA based on pre-COVID-19 traffic demand. However, based on the outcome of stakeholder consultations and considering the drop in traffic due to the Pandemic, the North Runway, currently under refurbishment, will remain CAT I compliant.” Further stating that as low visibility situations at the airport are limited to a specific period of time in a year, BIAL decided to drop plans to make both runways CAT IIIB compliant as one CAT I runway should suffice for seamless operations in the near term.