Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mumbai’s Runway 09 unsafe: Aviation safety official

The deputy general manager of aviation safety in Mumbai has written a letter to civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Airport Authority of India (AAI) Chairman Guruprasad Mahapatra and others, stating that Runway 09 is unsafe.

An Air India flight from Delhi to Pune which overshot the runway in Pune on May 12, causing minor injuries to those on board, prompted S Mangala’s letter.
In the letter dated May 15 - which was shown to Mumbai Mirror by a source in the civil aviation ministry - S Mangala stated that the accident at Pune airport, in which Flight AIC 849 with 152 persons on board “overshot” the runway after landing, is a case study for Mumbai international airport, from which it can be concluded that Mumbai’s Runway 09 is unsafe.

Mangala said the runway does not have a breakable jet-blast shield (or JBS, which can safely crack on impact with a plane overshooting the runway; currently the shield is made of hard metal and can cause an explosion if hit by a plane).

Also, the runway does not have a soft, muddy patch of ground to safely absorb the impact of an aircraft in case it overshoots the runway. These factors, Mangala wrote in her letter, make the runway extremely hazardous.

MIAL officers who manage the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport refused to comment.

Mangala, a known whistle-blower, had earlier exposed the gameplan of AAI officers to close down a runway at Juhu airport to allow high rises to come up. She contended that the jet-blast shield must not be solid, as a plane overshooting the runway can ram into it and can catch fire, sources said.

Besides, the runway end-safety area (RESA) should not be concrete. Her contention is that a runway end-safety area must be made up of soft soil, so that an overshooting aircraft can get stuck in it.
17/05/17 Yogesh Naik/Mumbai Mirror