The controversy-ridden secondary runway in Chennai may become operational by May 10.

HS Suresh, Chennai Airport Director, told Business Line that a firm decision on the opening date will be taken in the next one or two days after a meeting with the stakeholders.

Controversies arose about safety aspects of the second runway as it runs over the Adyar river. Among the various points raised were the structural strength of the runway on the bridge over the river and displacement of the runway due to obstructions.

In August last year, Captain A Ranganathan, Member-Operations Group, Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, in a letter to then Secretary Civil Aviation, KN Srivastava, claimed that the bridge was a “poorly constructed structure, with visible signs of heavy corrosion and rapid deterioration.”

Verification To mitigate these concerns, the Airports Authority of India appointed Anna University to carry out a third party assessment which pointed out that 90 per cent of the values indicate that the comprehensive strength of the concrete is 60 Mpa and the quality of the concrete is “excellent”. Mpa of 50-100 denotes high strength of the concrete.

Sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which is mandated to certify airports around the country from an operational stand point, said that it was only after receiving and going through the Anna University report that the go ahead was given for making the second runway operational. DGCA official claim that the permission for use of the secondary runway has been given only after verifying various aspects including the runway marking plan, lighting plan, signage plan and revised taxi procedure formulation (for take off and landing of aircraft).

The opening of the secondary runway will allow Chennai to have two operational runways thereby easing air traffic congestion at the airport. Currently, because the secondary runway is not available, Chennai airport has to close down every Tuesday and Saturday for a few hours for maintenance work to be done on the existing runway.