Vasco: With the heavy rains deteriorating condition of the run way at Dabolim Airport in Goa, a civilian facility which is a part of Naval base, the Indian Navy has decided to shut down the airport for six hours every weekend from November 2.
Indian Navy spokesman, in a statement, issued here has said that the shut down will not impact civilian operations as it would be undertaken during the time allotted for naval sorties.
“A meeting was conducted by Indian Navy with Airport Authority of India and all airline operators including chartered operators on August 01,2019 to discuss the winter flight schedule on weekends in order to facilitate periodic maintenance of runway,” the naval spokesman said.
“The excessively heavy monsoons this season has adversely affected the runway surface,” he added.
The spokesman said that after extensive discussions all stakeholders had agreed upon the requirement of runway maintenance slot of six hours from 0630hrs to 1230hrs on every Saturday for runway maintenance.
“It is to be noted that many major airports in the country have runway maintenance slots of six to seven hours. The requirement to have minimum of six hours is necessary in Goa to prevent deterioration of runway surface. Indian Navy is mandated by regulations to ensure satisfactory condition of runway surface,” he said.
The spokesman said that the proposed maintenance slot between 0630-1230 h affects only one flight of charter operator Thopson Airways from United Kingdom.
“The operator was offered additional slots to cater for their requirements which was accepted by their local manager as also all other airline operators,” he said.
Indian Navy has always been accommodating civil/ charter flights during military slots incase of delays and other contingencies. Also, all maintenance activities till date are being undertaken during military flying slots only to ensure least effect on civil aircraft operations , the spokesman said.
This has also effected operational military missions in the past, the spokesman stated.
He said that the non availability of six hours maintenance slot will lead to faster deterioration of the runway which had been resurfaced just four years ago in very restricted timeline so that civil operations were not disturbed.
“It is to be borne in mind that availability of runway for maintenance is vital for safe operations and safety of passengers,” he added.