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Air India to take less fuel on flights headed to airports with multiple runways

NEW DELHI: Air India may not take diversion fuel on flights to destinations with multiple runways, in a bid to fly lighter planes and thereby cut fuel burn. It made the start on Monday by operating a Dreamliner with no alternate/diversion fuel from Delhi to Hyderabad, whose Shamshabad Airport has a main and a standby runway.

AI’s next aim will be to follow the “despatch with no destination alternate” approach on flights headed to Delhi in good weather and clear visibility months as the capital’s IGI Airport has three runways, said Captain Amitabh Singh, AI’s director-operations who thought of and implemented the “perfectly safe” approach. Saving fuel burn on flights to its main hub, Delhi, could lead to substantial reduction in the cash-strapped airline’s fuel bill.

Fuel uplift for a flight is decided by adding requirement for these segments of a journey: fuel for going from origin to destination; hovering fuel at destination; fuel to go to a diversion airport in case the destination is not available for some reason like some aircraft getting stuck on its single runway and finally hovering fuel at alternate/diversion airport.

“Not taking alternate fuel to some airports with multiple runways in good weather months is perfectly safe. We will carry hovering fuel for such destinations. If one runway is not available for some reason, the other will be made available within 30 minutes. Our flights will have more than adequate hovering fuel for such situations. We have started with flights headed to Hyderabad and our next aim will be Delhi. Provisions exist in regulations to despatch flights without an alternate, without compromising on safety issues,” Captain Singh said.

Giving estimate of the estimated fuel saving by flying light to wherever safely possible, AI says a Boeing 777 flying from Delhi to Hyderabad with no alternate fuel will reduce uptake by 4 tonnes and flying this much lighter will mean reduction in fuel consumption by 140 kg. With 15 daily flights to Hyderabad, AI says fuel savings would be “humongous”.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operating Delhi-Hyderabad on Monday morning as AI-560 was the Maharaja’s first flight to land at the city’s Shamshabad Airport on the approach of “despatch with no destination alternate”. This flight was operated by Captain Amitabh Singh and fellow pilots Sunil Kumar, Digvijay Singh, Rajneesh Sharma, Akhil Gupta and P K Gupta.

Captain Amitabh Singh heads AI’s fuel conservation committee and “despatch with no destination alternate” is one of the moves to achieve fuel saving without compromising safety in any way, says AI.

Currently among Indian airport, Delhi has three runways — two parallel — and one merging and Mumbai has two cross-runways which means they can be used only one at a time. Hyderabad has a taxiway which has been allowed to be classified as standby runway during daytime. Recently, the DGCA allowed night operations also on this taxiway if needed. After that classification, Hyderabad’s Shamshabad airport has a main and a standby runway. Delhi IGIA and Bangalore will get their fourth and second runway, respectively, in two to three years.

News credit : Indiatimes