Friday, November 04, 2016

Fearing another downgrade, govt wants developers of international airports to upgrade, meet ICAO's standards

Fearing yet another downgrade, India’s civil aviation regulator, DGCA wants all 23 international airports across the country to ensure that they upgrade their operational standards, customer outreach and infrastructure to international standards, a key to impress the International civil aviation watchdog ICAO’s team visiting India in March next year.

A top government official told The New Indian Express that International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is more concerned about international operations and so international airports need to tune-up to ensure that they don’t slip on something which could come to the notice of ICAO.

As a result, International airports have been directed to prioritize and set their operational standards and norms and set their house in order ahead of the ICAO’s visit.

However, incidents involving commercial aircraft have been increasing at international airports in India and that is something which is also disturbing the Indian authorities ahead of ICAO’s team visit to India.

India has witnessed over 25 near-miss incidents in the past one year involving commercial aircraft, according to DGCA, of which at least 15 of these incidents alone have occurred at Chennai, Mumbai and Jaipur, all international airports since past one year.

Incidentally, Mumbai and Chennai international airports alone cater to around 35% of international inbound and outbound traffic.

A senior ministry official pointed out that air miss incidents have become more rampant at Mumbai international airport as the airport caters to more flights while its infrastructure is limited.

Similarly, international airport at Chennai, also has been facing air miss incidents besides many dozens of incidents of glass panels and sections of the false ceiling falling at the airport’s international terminal building ever since the airport was renovated and modernized in year 2012. These incidents have put lives of passengers at risk forcing country's top human rights body - the National Human Rights Commission - to intervene, but the incidents continue unabated. A survey last year found Chennai international airport the 7th worst in Asia.
03/11/16 Sanjay Singh/The New Indian Express