CAAB initiates efforts to expand, upgrade HSIA to elevate its international standing
_By Raquib Siddiqi
Dhaka : The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has taken steps to further expand and upgrade Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), Dhaka, the gateway to Bangladesh by air. The aim is to elevate the airport's international standing.
In addition to the development works now underway, CAAB has planned to expand facilities at the airport. These include very important features like addition of second runway and third international terminal building.
Air traffic in Bangladesh both passenger and cargo is registering healthy growth. In 2009, the number of passenger traffic was 4,254,000. The number increased to 4,718,000 in 2010; 5,100,000 in 2011 and 55,74,000 in 2012.
In past four years, between 2009 and 2012, Bangladesh achieved a 21 per cent air passenger traffic growth in the country.
The movement of air cargo is also healthy, albeit not continuous. In 2009 the volume of air cargo was 145,050 metric tons. The volume increased to 200,000 tons in 2010. In 2011, the volume fell slightly to 186,000 tons, but picked up again in 2012 to 214,000 tons.
Expansion & upgradation plan
Air Vice Marshal Mahmud Hussain, Chairman of CAAB, while informally talking to me at his office recently said that his organisation has decided to expand the existing facilities of HSIA and also facilitate the airport with a new runway and terminal building to meet the growing air traffic demand of the country as well as enhance the airport capacity.
As the part of upgradation, CAAB intends to develop the airport for operation of new generation aircraft. The development works mainly includes construction of a new second runway, third international terminal building and associated infrastructural development along with necessary electro-mechanical and Nav-aid equipment installation.
It is learnt that the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism has endorsed the project and asked the authority to conduct the feasibility study on the proposed project. The feasibility study is going to be undertaken to decide about adding a parallel, second runway at a cost of Tk 10 billion by 2014. The project has been taken to cope with the rising air traffic, and take pressure off the lone runway, to double the capacity of the airport.
It is interesting to note that HSIA was built keeping a provision for a parallel runway. Moreover, almost 60 per cent of Shahjalal airport's 2,000 acres of land is currently remains unutilised. Feasibility study will determine the best use of the vacant land for second runway and third terminal building and other facilities.
It is relevant to mention that CAAB has already scrapped the plan that allowed IPCO to build golf course. In the revised agreement, IPCO is allowed to build two hotels.
With future need in sight, CAAB has decided to construct third international terminal along with the second runway. The airport now has three major terminals, T1 and T2 for international flights and a third terminal, known as Domestic Terminal, for dom-estic flights. The arrivals deck is on the ground floor and the upper floor is the departures hall. A VVIP terminal has been built only about 200 metres from the main gate and is only used occasionally.
To provide necessary engineering consultancy services for proper implementation of the project-"Construction of second runway and other infrastructure development works at HSIA"_as per ICAO standards, the CAAB has decided to engage an international consulting firm.
The major job of the consulting firm would be feasibility study, planning, design, documentation, estimating etc.
The CAAB has already floated international tender inviting reputable international consulting firms to submit expression of interest for the job along with qualification. Closing date for submission was May 9. For the consultancy job, 17 parties from different countries have expressed their interests. The applications are now being scrutinised.
The plan of CAAB is certainly a move in the right direction, both in terms of global and domestic needs. It will not be out of the way to say that look and feel of the world's airports has evolved over the years, as have the methods used to design them.
In developing airport, operators should place human considerations high on the list of priorities. The largest airports in the world employ more than 100,000 workers each. They are immensely complex entities with regard to the physical facilities that they comprise, the organisations that are active within their boundaries, and the services that are provided in conjunction with their operation.
Physical facilities include runways, taxiways, aprons and strips, which are used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft, for the maneuvering and positioning of aircraft on the ground, and for the parking of aircraft in order to load and discharge passengers and cargo. For the safe landing and takeoff of aircraft, proper physical facilities are very important.
As the nation's air transportation system grew, so did the need for better aviation facilities.
As aircraft became bigger and passenger numbers rose, HSIA, the gateway to Bangladesh evolved to keep up. Airfields grew larger, grass gave way to pavement, and terminal buildings evolved from simple structures to architectural statements of modernity.
In order to ensure safe takeoff and landing of aircraft and overall improvement of services, a modernisation plan for HSIA is now underway.
One of the major components of the modernisation plan is strengthening of taxiway. When completed the Tk 5300 million project will elevate the category code from present "D" to "E". The taxiway of the airport will be able to handle larger and heavier aircraft.
Along with strengthening of taxiway, for the improvement of the runway, Asphalt Concrete Overlay work at a cost of Tk 1880 million is now underway and expected to be completed soon.
To increase parking capacity_ both for passenger and cargo aircraft_ of the airport extension works of passenger and cargo aprons are also going on. The project will cost Tk 440 million and will provide facility to park four wide-bodied passenger aircraft and two wide-bodied cargo aircraft side by side.
It may be recalled that in recent years CAAB has completed modernisation and beautification of two terminal buildings; constructed five aircraft parking bays; Installed two more boarding bridges; re-installed power plant to ensure 24 hours power supply; added more passenger check-in and immigration counters and baggage conveyor belts.
The airport has been set up and upgraded with technology and instruments up to the second quarter of 2012, by the CAAB. They include: Instrument landing system, Distance measuring equipment and flight calibration system, which will help the operational standards of the airport. Two more boarding bridges have been operational, and another is being set up. Asphalt runway overlay began in December 2012, which will take six months to complete. Further improvements in the Taxiway and Runway lighting system will be made. Other projects include:
primary and secondary radar, a new control tower and a modern drainage system.
At present HSIA has a capacity of 8 million passengers per year, and is predicted by the CAAB to be enough until 2026. Currently 26 passenger airlines operate in the airport, connecting 19 countries, and 34 cities both domestic and international. Eight freighters and cargo airlines operate flights to the airport. Average traffic activity in the airport per day is 190.