The fate of Surat Airport is in peril due to ONGC’s trunk pipelines, parallel runway a pipe dream


Surat Airport
Surat: Plans to build a parallel runway measuring 3,810 meters long by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at the Surat airport are doomed to fail. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) trunk pipelines at the airport have become major bottlenecks, making it less likely that the airport would ever get a parallel runway.

Replying to the complaint filed on the Public Grievance Portal (PGPORTAL), ONGC stated that the trunk pipelines carry natural gas which also contains lethal Hydrogen Sulphide. A foolproof technical solution that must have zero tolerance towards any untoward incident has to be put in place before initiating any construction plan for the parallel runway or expansion. ONGC management has always shared its inputs,  views, information, and extended cooperation as and when sought by the airport authorities keeping in mind the safety of its assets located within the airport premises.

According to ONGC, there are two trunk pipelines inside the airport which were commissioned in the year 1985 and 1996 respectively. These lines are coming from Mumbai Offshore and after landfall at Umbhrat, enter into the ONGC plant crossing the Tapi river.

The pipeline on Runway04 side was laid in 1985, much before the Surat airport became operational in 1990, that too with a smaller runway length of 600 meters. Thus, the existence of a pipeline towards Runway04 was always in the knowledge of concerned airport authorities. The construction of high-rise buildings towards Runway22 side and the resulting displacement of Runway by 615 meters doesn’t come under the purview of the ONGC management.

Because of the ONGC’s trunk pipelines, the future of the Surat airport is uncertain. As a result, ONGC will never be able to fix the problems caused by the Parallel Airport blockage, and the existing gas pipeline will remain in place. The elevation increase on RWY22 at Surat Airport will never be removed, and RWY04 will always remain the same.