Monday, November 28, 2022

Serious issues plague Dimapur airport

Staff Reporter

Dimapur airport, among the oldest ones in the region, was constructed during the Second World War and civil flights were introduced way back during the mid-70s.
However, other airports which came into existence decades later, have been highly developed while Nagaland’s only airport is left behind.
The factors responsible include– encroachment on airport land over which land pattas were issued. This also figured during the recent 12th session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly. The runway width has to be around 150 meters on either side from the middle but cannot be expanded and neither can it be extended beyond its present length.
There is an option for a parallel runway at CRPF and Assam Rifles camps area. The other major concern is perennial inundation of water on one stretch of the runway during rainy season.
The runway is around 6821 feet long and the stretch towards NH 29 (near M/s T.K. Service Station) is at a lower elevation. Rain water flowing to the lower end cannot flow through the drain (under the runway), due to higher elevation that is around eight feet high towards Chathe river. This is the reason why flights are frequently delayed or cancelled at Dimapur airport. The other factor that makes landing difficult at Dimapur airport is that the flight route has come under the military ‘No Fly Zone’.
Though the state government had reportedly taken up the matter with the defence ministry to exclude ‘No Fly Zone’ from Dimapur route, there has been no positive response yet.
According to aviation experts, approach is through the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedure available only at Assam side ie: Runway 12. The other approach– Runway 30- does not have any ILS procedure due to the terrain (hills) around Chümoukedima.
Aircrafts to Dimapur, have to approach from Imphal side, circle around Peren and Dimapur before approaching the runway.
This also results in consumption of more aviation fuel. The only solution to solve the problem is to look for Greenfield airport towards 5th mile area, having orientation of 050 degrees and 230 degrees, North, South direction enabling use of both directions without restrictions.
Land is available in the area for construction of a 10,000 feet runway and 1000 feet wide.
An airport is also coming up near Diphu which is among several planned by the Assam government.
Any airport at Dimapur is going to be all-weather unlike in hilly areas where heavy winds, terrain and clouds would hamper flight operations.

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