Recarpeting/refurbishment of a runway is done every 10 years or even before if required. We experienced the Mumbai airport closing both the runways for six hours for 6 weeks earlier this year. Dubai airport also undertook a refurbishment of the south runway from April 16 to May 30, 2019.
Next in line is Kochi (Cochin) airport. Kochi airport started operations in 1999 and refurbished the runway for the first time in 2009. Kochi airport will refurbish its 3400m long runway starting in November 2019. From November 20, 2019, to March 28, 2020, flight operations at Kochi airport will be halted every day from 10 am to 6 pm to conduct the refurbishment of the runway.
According to Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL),
As the mandatory runway re-carpeting work of Kochi airport is slated in November, CIAL has instructed all the operating airlines to re-schedule their daytime services for four months from November 20. The major re-carpeting work will start on November 20, 2019 and continue till March 28, 2020. There will be no flight operations from 10 AM to 6 PM in that period. The daytime flights will be re-scheduled to the night.
In addition, Kochi airport will upgrade Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL) system to CAT III from the existing CAT I. According to CIAL,
This will considerably improve the operational efficiency and aerodrome safety, especially during low visibility and adverse weather conditions. As part of the CAT III lighting system, the spacing of existing runway centreline lights would be reduced from the existing 30 metres to 15 metres and the runway would be provided touch down zone lighting and approach side row lighting.
A lot of domestic flights will be affected by the closure of Kochi airport. International flights operated by IndiGo, Air India Express, SpiceJet, Saudia and Qatar Airways will be affected as they have a scheduled departure post 10 am from Kochi.
According to CIAL,
As a majority of international flights operate from 6 PM to 9 AM, the re-carpeting would not affect international traffic in a big way. But around 35 domestic services have to be re-scheduled.
Since the intimation for runway closure has just come in, airlines haven’t rescheduled all the flights yet. Airlines may take some time to reschedule/cancel the affected flights as they have to maintain their overall schedule.
For those who use the Kochi Airport, get set for a big round of travel disruption coming your way later this year.